Couple’s big help with back-to-school costs

DONATIONS: Some of the items purchased with money raised by Jason and Liz Harber to form stationary packs which were donated to the Compassion Trust.

A North New Brighton couple raised more than $900 in a week to help families with their back-to-school costs.

Jason and Liz Harber donated more than 60 school stationery packs to the Compassion Trust, with help from the community and work colleagues.

Jason and Liz Harber.

The couple received a “hugely overwhelming” response after posting on a New Brighton community Facebook page asking where they could drop off 16 primary school stationery packs they had made up with items bought from The Warehouse. “There was so many positive responses, it was unbelievable,” said Mrs Harber.

Following this, she told her work colleagues at the Christchurch Casino administration office about the idea and, by the end of the day, she had raised more than $850.

Another 28 primary school packs were created and donated as well as 22 year 9 packs, including scientific calculators.

The Compassion Trust helps more than 250 families in east Christchurch with free services, such as financial mentoring, ‘street kitchens’, emergency aid and house repair services.

Trust manager Anne Addei said the donations, as well as the online responses, had been “mind-blowing and amazing.”

“This time of year is our craziest time. It’s when people get the most stressed. To tell you the truth, most of our clients don’t ever have spare money so to be able to plan ahead for these costs, it is just too hard,” she said.

Mrs Harber wants people to understand how easy it is to make a difference. “You don’t really need a big plan in place, you literally just have to go out and buy things and give them away.”

“I think people think there is more to it than there actually is . . . the stuff we got was all quite generic for those specific age groups so it made it easier,” said Mrs Harber.