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Christmas Boxes for Charity

During the 2017 End of Year Programme, our girls produced 170 beautifully wrapped and imaginatively filled Christmas boxes for charity across Hawke’s Bay. The boxes were all blessed during our end of term Chapel services, in which Reverend Deborah reminded us that we are ‘blessed in order to be a blessing to others’ and that Christmas is the perfect time to remember this. The boxes were then packed into our school minibus to be delivered during the last week of term.

Along with Reverend Deborah and Mr Paul Dine, Year 9 students Mackenzie Grant and Maia Briggs first visited the Seafarers’ Mission Centre on Marine Parade in Napier on Friday 1 December. The gifts were gratefully received by Mr Noel Henderey and members of his team of volunteers. The centre opens every evening when cargo ships from around the world are in port. Mr Henderey said that the seafarers, who are often a long way from home at Christmas, were always grateful for gifts of hats, gloves and toiletries.

On Monday 4 December, Reverend Deborah, Mrs Jill Foster and a group of Woodford House girls delivered boxes to Hawke’s Bay Hospital. Reverend Barbara Walker, Hospital Chaplain, was delighted to receive the gifts, saying that she would be on duty in the hospital on Christmas Day where many patients would have no visitors and would be really cheered by these presents.

After this, the girls visited the Heretaunga Women’s Centre in Hastings, where Centre Manager, Margot Wilson, led us in an impromptu recital of Christmas carols accompanied by guitar and ukulele. Margot explained how the centre caters for a wide range of local women’s groups and needs, along with those of their families. The boxes included lovely gifts of toiletries and home-made confectionery for parents as well as toys for the children.

The final destination was Waiapu House Aged Care Centre in Havelock North, where Chaplain, Reverend Janice Tapper, introduced us to the residents. The girls were able to hand over the boxes individually and to chat to the residents and share some of their stories. They were amazed to meet two centenarians! It was very humbling to see their surprise and joy.

Maia Briggs and Mackenzie Grant hand over Christmas boxes to Mr Noel Henderey at the Seafarers’ Mission Centre, Napier.

Hospital Chaplain, Reverend Barbara Walker welcomes Reverend Deborah Wilson and Woodford House girls – Chanel McKeefry, Lily Newrick, Polly Phillips, Meg Dineen, Bella Ireland Anna McMillan and Georgiana Absolom. Photo supplied by Hawke’s Bay Hospital.

Woodford House girls present gifts to Margot Wilson, Manager of the Heretaunga Women’s Centre in Hastings. Photo supplied by Heretaunga Women’s Centre.

The girls arrive at Waiapu House Aged Care Centre in Havelock North.

A further four boxes of tinned and packet produce were delivered to the local foodbank thanks to the generosity of our senior students when they returned to school.

We very much hope to build upon our relationship with these important charities and services in the New Year as we connect with our wider community here in Hawke’s Bay and develop partnerships for friendship, learning and service.

Reverend Dr Deborah Wilson, Chaplain