– Saint Albans, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

May 2011
Editorial for The Mairehau community newspaper shows a picture of the community pulling together post-quake:

Over those first couple of weeks after the ‘quake, staff and volunteers at Neighbourhood Trust and St Albans Baptist rang over 600 people on their lists; shovelled silt from people’s driveways and back yards, fixed doors & windows; took food, clean water, clothes and blankets to people without power or water; door-knocked over 5,500 homes and visited those who just needed to talk to someone.

This was an amazing combined effort to meet the needs of the people of Mairehau/St Albans/Shirley/Richmond. Neighbourhood Trust would like to acknowledge the support of the Shirley/Papanui Community Board, Bunnings, Shirley for donating torches; Kirsten Chambers, who was on a mission at a Rolleston supermarket when our local ones weren’t open and donated grocery items; Shirley Community Trust, with whom we traded biscuits for camembert and generally had fun in the midst of chaos and stress; Westminster Sports who loaned staff and expertise to keep the kids happy; the volunteers and gifts from Atawhai church in Blenheim and from Life Church who learnt first-hand what silt was all about, and Liberty Church in Auckland who have gifted 300 Easter shoe boxes filled with goodies; the donations from some who came to the drop-in centre and so many others – we went to the supermarket to buy food for the Soup Kitchen and our volunteers came back with money donated by supermarket staff. Vegetables, fruit, frozen goods, crates of water all turned up from strange and unlikely sources. It’s this kind of collaboration that makes me think – yes, Canterbury, we can do it.

If you need help with shopping, food or would just like to have a visit, you can call us on 355 6522. And remember, the drop-in lunch is still going 12-1.30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Hope to see you there.

Blessings, Ginny Larsen

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