Cyclone linen drive took on life of its own

Publish Date : 28 Feb 2023
John and Jan Robinson didn't know what they were getting themselves into when they called for linen to support those hit by Cyclone Gabrielle.

When the call went out for bedding and towels during Cyclone Gabrielle, Papakura Local Board acting chair Jan Robinson recalled a conversation she’d had about Bruce Pulman Lodge having recently renewed all its linen.

Knowing that meant there had to be a pile of replaced towels and sheets somewhere, she set to work with husband John, a member of a Masonic Lodge that belongs to the English Masonic Lodges North Island District.

“John visited Manukua Councillor Alf Filipaina, Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board chair Tauanu'u Nanai Nick Bakulich and the Pacific Health Organisation at the Mangere Emergency Centre to confirm what was needed.

“When the call went out for linen and towels, we contacted Bruce Pulman Lodge and they not only let us have all the linen they’d replaced but brand new items that had been in storage and never called into use.

“Then as more calls were made Totara Hospice came to the party too, donating linen, towels, duvets and female hygiene products.

“By that time the word had spread among the friends and families of the groups John and I had contacted and it began taking on a life of its own.

“Quota Papakura, the good people of both Papakura and Manurewa marae who were already flat out helping the community, Mike Pero Mortgages and Real Estate, English Masonic Lodges, The Mark, and Skin Artistry Beauty Salon all donated a huge array of goods.

“Much of the linen was brand new and we estimate its value would have been more than $30,000.  As an example of groups getting in and doing something practical to serve their community, it was outstanding.”

She says witnessing the work done at the centre, where more than 16,000 food parcels were given out and more than 20,000 individuals were interviewed regarding support issues, was humbling.

“We can never thank enough all of those who dropped everything and put their own lives on hold to help those hit hardest by the cyclone.”

Masonic lodges also supplied food to support parcels and held a sausage sizzle for volunteers.

When the emergency centre closed surplus items were put in containers to be sent to Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.

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