‘Returning the favor’: Christchurch rallies for Westport flood evacuees
Christchurch resident Angela Grocott knows what it feels like to have your home devastated and your life torn apart by natural disaster.
That’s why she opened her home and her heart to help those severely affected by the flooding in Westport.
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Grocott rallied friends and strangers alike and turned his Parklands garage into a collection point for donated food, baked goods, clothing and other essentials.
She and her young family were grateful beneficiaries of the kindness, delivered in trucks by smiling strangers from the west coast of the South Island when their Brooklands home was zoned red after the Christchurch earthquakes in 2011 .
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“I remember going to the local school with the kids to meet the trucks that were coming in with donations to help us and how nice it was to know someone cared,” said Grocott.
“I was watching the news last night and I was like ‘now it’s time for us to reciprocate’.”
Anyone wishing to donate good quality items can drop them off at 6 Brancroft Place, Parklands; Christchurch Community Discussion and Support, Burnside; 3 Gillatt Gardens, Halswell; and 75 Proctor Street, Papanui.
The only items accepted are non-perishable food, new toiletries, housewares, toys, and clothing, and vouchers for open stores including New World, Countdown, and Miter 10.
Peter Meecham / Stuff
Aerial footage taken on Sunday afternoon shows how much flooding remains in the greater Westport area.
Cooking must be clearly labeled and include a list of ingredients.
Please do not donate stained or torn clothing, food that has been opened, bulky items or appliances, or broken items. The drop-off points are under video surveillance.
“We just want to give them a few essentials,” Grocott said.
“I have family in Westport. My cousin owns Miter 10, so the truck can drop donations there, or it can be in a school – we’ll let people know.
Vicki-Anne Parker, of the Christchurch NZ Gifts of Love and Strength charity, said she was working with Grocott and arranged a truck to travel to Westport.
“TIL Freight has been amazing. We need all the goods to be dropped off before 3pm on Wednesday so that the truck can leave on Thursday morning, ”she said.
She founded the association in the aftermath of the Christchurch terrorist attack in 2019. It provides care packages for victims of recent severe traumatic events.
“I’m devastated that we don’t have the resources to do care packages for everyone affected on the coast, but what Angela is doing is wonderful, and we’re working together to make it happen,” Parker said.
Parker was also hit hard by the Christchurch earthquake, and she had vivid memories of the ‘West Coasters Helping’.
“My house in Avondale was in the red zone. The Pike River firefighters took down my chimney, they helped us out and sure enough, they had just gone through their darkest day. I never forgot it.
Care packages for two pregnant women in Westport were collected by extended family members on Monday. A Givealitle page had been created for a family.
“These are women who are due to give birth next week, they have lost everything and have no insurance,” Parker said.
She had witnessed an “incredible kindness” and strangers had gathered to donate baby supplies.
“People are putting together so many things that are needed for these expectant mothers.
“The residents of Ashburton who have recently been severely affected by the flooding [are] themselves by helping other people who need it … that’s a nice answer.
West Coast resident Angie Stenning had made a general appeal in Christchurch. She said the images published in the newspapers could not “fully express the damage” caused by the flood.
Anyone with clean, dry and undamaged blankets can drop them off at the Back to Beds car park on Tuesday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. A shipping container donated by Boxman Containers would be on site.
Fresh Choice Westport was also inviting people to donate directly through its website.
A community hub had been established at the NBS Theater, Westport, coordinated by Maegan Bird of Homebuilders Trust. It would be a one-stop-shop to give affected residents a place to register their needs and get information from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Sunday.
Farmers in need of food support for their livestock can call 0800 FARMING (0800 32 76 46) and, for welfare assistance, should call Rural Support Trust on 0800 RURAL HELP or 0800 787 254.