Crates of clothes from Hawke’s Bay every two months
By Kay Mooney
Volunteers’ only expense: Freight
To most of us Save the Children Fund is a blue collection tin to remind us that with every meal we prepare and eat others are going without food.
It is an annual appeal to remind us that, while our plates are full, the rice bowls of others are empty.
It is more than this.
Children do not only suffer from hunger, they suffer from cold and exposure and, every winter, numbers of them die.
With this in mind, a steady supply of clothing goes away every two months from Hawke’s Bay to Korea.
Korea is a country of hot summers but bitter winters.
It has an estimated 1 1/2 million children and half of these have tuberculosis and large numbers of them are orphans and homeless.
Last year Hawke’s Bay sent 44 tea crates of clothing to these children in a voluntary operation involving a number of people and groups and making it clear that charity is not dormant in this district.
The only payment made on this operation is for shipping – about £3 a crate.
The Mission Circle of the Catholic Women’s League are responsible for packing the goods.
They have met every other month for a packing session as over the past 11 years and they efficiently and cheerfully keep the chain of clothing moving.
The goods to be packed continue to come in without any organised appeal or collection.
Most people in Hawke’s Bay know the Save the Children Fund has a means of forwarding clothing to where it is most needed and warm garments, woollens, blankets and knitting wools are left at Millar and Georgi’s [Giorgi’s] or Blackmore’s stores in Hastings for collection.
The first job of the packers is to sort over the garments to ensure they are all good.
No money is wasted on sending garments not worth their freight.
This is not a difficult job. Many of the goods given are new. Most are in excellent condition.
The tea chests used are given by Hawke’s Bay groceries.
The tar-paper with which they are lined is bought by the roll but the price is often given by benefactors.
The packers have several safety-first rules, learned the hard way:
*Don’t take of [off] your cardigan unless you have somewhere safe to put it. Otherwise you will shiver while someone in Korea gets warmed.
*Don’t take off shoes to step into crate No.1 and trample down its contents. You may find they have been securely packed in crate No.2 while you went about it.
Most of the clothing packed is warm clothing. Poverty can sometimes cope with summer weather but winter snows and frosts can kill those not warmly dressed.
Beautiful babies’ clothes that once kept well-fed babies comfortable in their bassinet now go on the way to sick and hungry children facing fierce Korean winters.
Watching them being packed does bring it home that the world of the hungry millions is not just something we read about.
These crates are about to travel from one world to another. These warm clothes and blankets are going from a direct route from the have to the have-nots.
Pride of place among the goods being packed are multi-coloured bedcovers anyone would be glad to have.
At the far end of the chain a cold, sick child will find warmth and comfort and a great deal of pleasure from one of these beautiful covers, but more than just duty giving has gone into its making.
This is the result of genuine concern and desire to help from a number of people at the Hawke’s Bay end of the link.
The knitting of the individual squares of the quilts is organised by Mrs Kingscote, Havelock North.
She is liaison between a number of elderly people some of whom knit squares while others unravel good woollens and prepare the wool for reknitting [re-knitting].
Mrs Tyers, who is more than 90, makes up the covers and backs them in warm, cheerful material.
When the crates are packed they are wired up, transported and stored ready for about 50 people who unpick adult garments and remake them where necessary.
Those few people who hesitate to give to charity in case their offering is squandered on administration charges could take a closer look at Operation Warm Clothes for Cold Korean Winters.
If only someone could find a way of getting the crates shipped free of charge, the whole operation would be voluntary.
The Catholic Women’s League, sorting the clothes and packing the crates are only one group of people in Hawke’s Bay who are aware of the needs of the less fortunate and who do not wait for authority to move but get on with the job and do something practical about it.