More than 120 new entrants starting school this year in the Hauraki District have received stationery packs from Paeroa Lions Club.
Paeroa Lions Club’s second vice president and youth committee chair Wei Zhang told The Profile the idea for the stationery packs came from a desire for the club members to give back to the community.
“We saw education was important for the youth and there were some families we knew who were struggling to buy stationery, especially when they have multiple kids and are finding it hard during the pandemic,” she said.
This was the third year Paeroa Lions supplied the stationery packs, which cost just over $4000 and were funded through community donations and fundraising from slink (dead calf) collection. In previous years, proceeds from the club’s annual fireworks event also went towards stationery packs, however, the event didn’t go ahead last year.
“The Lions Club would like to thank the community for helping us, without their support we wouldn’t be able to supply them [the stationery packs],” she said.
Wei said Paeroa Lions supplied stationery packs for nine schools, including Miller Avenue, Paeroa Central, Karangahake, St Joseph’s Catholic, Tirohia, Netherton, Kerepēhi, Hikutaia and Paeroa Christian schools.
Paeroa Central School principal Mona Hingston told The Profile the Paeroa Lions’ stationery packs were highly appreciated and wonderful for her school’s community and the new entrants’ parents.
“A lot of our whānau come from large and blended families and almost 40 per cent of them struggle to buy their kids stationery,” she said.
“I’ve been principal here for three years so every year I’ve been able to see when the kids start school on their first day, and we tell them they’re getting a free stationery pack, their eyes light up,” she said.
Mona said by week three, the school expected all new entrants would have their stationery packs and they could take them home, and in previous years the pupils loved to individualise or decorate them.
Mona also acknowledged how grateful the school was that Paeroa Lions thought of them and what support they needed.