As an organisation that serves communities throughout New Zealand, we were among those affected by February’s devastating earthquake in Christchurch. A number of Plunket premises were severely damaged – some were completely destroyed.
Plunket areas around the country, together with our sponsors, business partners and celebrity friends, pulled together to assist our Christchurch colleagues and the families they support.
Our immediate focus was on getting Christchurch based services up and running and to provide assistance to Christchurch’s families and children.
Plunket services looked quite different for some weeks, and we worked with a number of other organisations to provide as many services as possible when and where needed.
Following the quake, thousands of families temporarily relocated out of Christchurch with few possessions and high levels of anxiety. This resulted in an increase in demand for services around the country, but particularly in Timaru, Dunedin and Nelson areas.
As both a coping and counting mechanism, local Plunket groups organised special play-groups, coffee groups and provided parenting information and support to displaced families and whānau with babies and toddlers.
The Nelson Plunket team started a drop-in group for the new families. They put on morning teas and organised for nurses, a lactation consultant and a child and family councillor from Barnardos to be there. The Nelson group was so successful and helpful to those who attended that another was organised in Blenheim.
Very soon after the quake, donations and offers of help began to flood in from around the country. A special account has been set up for donations from the public who specifically asked for their funds to go to Plunket to help families affected by the quake.
Plunket is fortunate to have wonderful friends and business partners. They came together to help raise funds to re-establish services in Christchurch and support affected families.
All Blacks sponsor, Sealegs, presented Plunket with a cheque for $51,000 following a charity auction in Paris, Sarah Ulmer raised $7,000 at her Mother’s Day Stride or Ride Event, Huggies donated nappies, Britax donated car safety restraints, strollers and port-a-cots and a Johnson & Johnson’sTrade Me auction featuring Plunket celebrity mum’s raised over $7,000.
The continuing earthquakes aren’t making life easy but everyone at Plunket is doing their best to support each other to support those families in need.