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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Charity begins at home

*climbs onto soapbox*

I'm sure we'll all agree that this last year has been a huge year for disasters, both natural and man-made, around the world. Boxing Day '04 saw the Tsunami strike many Asian coastlines, and as New Zealanders we pooled together several million dollars to give to those in need. In July Gleneagles, England played host to the G8 conference- and Al-Qaeda terrorists who detonated three bombs in the London Underground, and one on a bus in Tavistock Square. The whole of the western world was in a state of shock for days afterwards, and the outpourings of sympathy and caring from people of the international community were massive. The United States felt the curse of 2005 aswell, with Hurrican Katrina striking hard on August 29 in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, causing the Southern Levees to collapse and totally destroy the city of New Orleans. Again, the world grieved for America, and hundreds and thousands of clothes, books, food, first aid, etc were donated.

Helen Clark was re-elected in September, causing 49% of New Zealanders to mourn regretfully (sorry Helen, just a little centre-right humour, you understand), and one week later Hurrican Katrina wreaks further havoc along the US Gulf Coast, flooding New Orleans for the second time in a month, and affecting the other southern states all over again. In total over 1300 people are so far confirmed dead. October 1 - Bali is bombed by Al-Qaeda for the second time in almost three years. October 4 - Hurricane Stan kills 600 people in Mexico and Central America. October 8 - an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the richter scale devastates Pakistan and kills over 80 000 people. New Zealanders donate over 1.5million dollars aswell as clothes and food and such. October 19 - Hurricane Wilma threatens to demolish the Florida Keys, but compared to other hurricane activity, the damage is minimal.

Overall, we're pretty lucky here in New Zealand, being quite geographically isolated from the rest of the world (except for that tectonic plate that runs underneath most of the country...). Sure most of the North Island floods every winter... and summer... but other than the occasional "I'll fly my cessner into the sky tower" threat, we're pretty ok here. However there are those that are less fortunate than others in every country, including our own.

Charity begins at home, my friends, and this Christmas I'd ask that everyone remembers that. It is to this end that I'd like to bring your attention to an Auckland City Mission campaign to give Christmas to the Mothers of the City Mission. Every year hundreds and thousands of toys and presents are given to the less fortunate children, but with little thought for the Mothers. This year Women In Technology have started the ball rolling with a feminine luxury gift rally. This campaign is specifically on the look out for:

* Cosmetics (moisturizers, cleansers, foundation, powder, eye/lip/cheek
colours, etc)
Perfumes/body sprays
* Fluffy/bubbly/silky bath and shower stuff
* Body lotions and talcs
* Hand cream
* Nail polish/remover
* Shampoo and conditioner

Once you have these items, delivery or drop off can be arranged with:

* Prue Scott at the Mission at 140 Hobson St, or call her on 09 303 9264
to arrange pick-up
* Sharon Buckland at Unit 17, 6 Airborne Road, Albany

Be Quick, the deadline is Wednesday 12 December to allow for wrapping and distribution.

As I've said, charity begins at home, so please only contribute if you can afford it.

**Information and statistics such as death tolls and contribution gathered from Wikipedia, The New Zealand Red Cross, and Statistics New Zealand.