The Wellington City Mission recently launched their new transitional housing facility, Britannia House, in Lower Hutt, with an official opening by Hon Kris Faafoi MP, the Associate Minister of Housing. (Read more) The story caught the attention of Rev Caro Willis, the Chaplain at Chilton St James School in Lower Hutt. Her Year 6 students had gathered quality used clothing for their Palm Sunday service earlier this year, but the clothes now sat in storage whilst they waited for an opportunity to donate them to the right place.
Caro told us: “This year we celebrated Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem with a very special end of term one service, and a distinguished guest: a donkey called Jack!” The Year 6 students at Chilton had led the primary school in a giving project to support locals experiencing homelessness, and students and their families had generously given jackets, clothes and blankets. These were in turn laid down for Jack the donkey to “bless” as he walked over them, re-enacting Jesus’ welcome into Jerusalem as onlookers laid down their cloaks before Him, over 2,000 years ago.
But following the service, the clothes had nowhere to go. Caro told us: “they were of a high quality, and in abundance, but they sat in storage last term as we waited for the right place for them to go to in our local community. At the start of Term 3, the Year 6 students diligently sorted the clothes, complete with specially-created labels, and then we prayed for the right place for the donations to go to.”
The students’ prayers were answered when Caro heard about the City Mission’s response to the housing crisis – their new housing facility in Petone, Britannia House.
“I contacted Henare, the manager of Britannia House, and he told me that they had set aside a cupboard in the house. He had a vision to fill the cupboard with clothes and blankets that he could give to people when they arrived. I dropped our donations straight to him and we made a start to fill the cupboard!”
“On the top of the pile was a beautiful, smart business suit donated by one of the Chilton families and Henare assured me that the suit would help a man to gain confidence, attend a job interview and set him on a path to independence.”
This certainly was an offering that brought life to the Easter message of a resurrected Jesus who comes with love and hope to transform lives. A huge thank you to our Chilton students and their families who supported this wonderful cause.