Sunday, March 06, 2011

Voluntary Assistance

The earthquake has brought a huge flow of generosity and caring. The numbers of voluntary groups providing assistance have been astounding.

Yesterday morning as we drove home after filling our large container of water, we saw a group of people cooking breakfast on a street corner. We stopped to see them and they gave us sausages and eggs to eat. They were a church group, who had come in from outside of the city to bless those in need. The girl that I spoke with had flown down from Hamilton in the North Island with five others to assist for a week.

Soon after we got home, another group of volunteers called round to distribute boxes of groceries that have donated. We got muesli, noodles, bottled water, chocolate biscuits, fresh fruit, cans of fruit, baby wipes (really handy when water is short), sanitizers and gloves.

The day before, a lady called in with some jam and biscuits she had prepared.

Last weekend, hot meals were brought into the local park by helicopter and delivered round the streets while still warm. They had all been cooked by volunteers. They were handing out bottled water as well.

The next day the army was handing out meals from that had been prepared by volunteers to people who turned up at the water tanks. They handed out shortbread as well.

Several thousand students have carted silt out of thousands of homes and back yards. This is backbreaking dirty work, but it was all done for free.

If you leave bottles by your mailbox, people driving around with tanks on trailers will fill them with water.

Some people have brought in crates of bread and left it on a street corner for people to help themselves. Others have gone door to door deliver bread and water.

People’s response is interesting too. Some people are still complaining about the lack of help. Others grab everything that is going, even if they do not need it. However, most are just really grateful and are blessed that people care about their plight.

I am also surprised at the number of people who refuse help. Some have slogged away on their carting silt, because they are unwilling to pick up a phone and ask for the students to help.

I have been really impressed with the level of generosity and willingness to get on and do something.

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