500 “Kia Kaha” Packs for Earthquake-Affected Kids

When the national children’s ministry enabler for the Anglican Dioceses of New Zealand, Diana Langdon, considered what role Strandz (the hub of children and families ministry) could have in the earthquake relief effort, she started to think about ways to support children in the hardest hit areas of Malborough and North Canterbury regions.

Along with Sue Fallow, the Children and Families’ Ministry Enabler for the Anglican Diocese of Nelson, the two brainstormed how they could best support 6 churches in the region, including Kaikoura, Seddon, Ward, Culverden, and Waiau.

They decided to set the ambitious goal of making 500 packs for kids in those regions, as well as providing a box of children’s ministry resources for each church.

Organisations and businesses across New Zealand were contacted, and soon donations came rolling in: 500 Cookie Time cookies, christmas decorations and pens from Scripture Union NZ, activity flyers from Bible Society NZ, calendars from mainly music, and magazines from OHbaby.

Children from schools and churches all over the country made 500 cards, with a drawing or words of encouragement to go in each pack. Greetings included “Be strong. Help out mum and dad”, “We are all one” and “Kia Kaha! New Zealand has got your back!”

One of Diana’s favourite Christmas resources this year is an animation and booklet from Bible Society UK, entitled ‘The Well Good News of Christmas’ which tells the story from Genesis through to the life of Jesus. It finishes with the words “So, don’t get scared or jumpy, and don’t be afraid. Why? Because I will be with you always, to the end of the age…” What comforting words for children in those earthquake regions to hear!

She Bible Society UK an email to ask whether they could help, and they responded to the request enthusiastically. They sent over 500 copies of the christmas booklet, enough for each child, along with 200 colouring-in calendars.

On Monday, after 3 weeks, they had received $2,750 in financial donations, which was used to finish up making the packs in Nelson this week. With the help of volunteers, they made 50 preschool packs, 450 kids packs, and 6 boxes of ministry resources for churches.

The first boxes were delivered to the Reverend Dawn Daunauda, vicar of Awatere and East coast churches, and dropped off the first preschool packs to the Awatere Early Learning Centre in Seddon on Tuesday.

A huge thank you to everyone who cheered on this project, and sent in words of encouragement and donations. This truly was a team effort that is a testament to the generosity and aroha of New Zealanders. Kia kaha kids