Seeing the high numbers of Auckland’s homeless on her daily commute prompted Chapman Tripp lawyer Jai Nario to take action – raising money and creating winter care packs to help hundreds of homeless people in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
Jai, a senior associate in the firm’s tax practice, rallied support from around the firm in order to raise more than $7000 to prepare 300 care packs featuring thermal socks, beanies, ponchos, soap, deodorant, hand sanitiser, a toothbrush and toothpaste, comb, shampoo and conditioner.
“I have noticed an increasing amount of homelessness around the Auckland CBD,” she said.
“With the low temperatures we have been experiencing, it made me want to do something to help people get through the winter months.”
She was supported by Chapman Tripp staff, clients and local companies – including Kathmandu, Microsoft, EcoStore, Heavensent Gourmet, Planet Earth Travel, Promovision and Tantalus Estate – which provided products for the care packs or for a Chapman Tripp silent auction to further raise funds.
“I am fortunate enough to work for a firm and have contacts in organisations that supported this initiative, which enabled me to do something on such a scale that we hope will not only make a significant difference to those in need, but will also encourage other organisations and individuals to lend a hand,” she said.
“Due to the amount of support we received, we were also able to donate over 120 thermal tops to the three City Missions to distribute, in addition to the 300 packs we planned originally.”
The winter care packs and thermal tops were sent to each of the City Missions in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch last Friday.
Auckland City Mission Staff have already given out some of the packs, and they were really well received, fundraising team leader Alexis Sawyers said.
“It has been wonderful to provide rough sleepers with essential practical items. We will continue to distribute the care packs via our Homeless Community Drop-in Centre and Homeless Outreach service, which are both services that meet the needs of inner-city rough sleepers.”
She said poverty is getting worse and rough sleeping is the most visible and extreme representation of this.
“However, to understand the scale of homelessness in Auckland we need to measure the problem. Auckland’s Homeless Count, which is an Auckland-wide count on Monday 17 September is the start of measuring homelessness in Auckland.
“For a number of years the Mission was involved in a localised count in Auckland CBD, the last was in May 2016 and on that night we found a total of 177 people sleeping rough within three kilometres of the Sky Tower – a figure which does not include the further 51 people who might otherwise have slept rough but were located in temporary accommodation at James Liston Hostel, or were patients in hospital.”
Chapman Tripp partner and CSR committee chair Edward Scorgie said he was immensely proud of Jai’s initiative.
“Jai spearheaded this with her vision and effort and we are delighted to support her and proud of the initiative.
“We hope this will have a tangible benefit for homeless people in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and that it will also further raise awareness of the issues across all three of our offices.
“We are thankful to the staff, partners and clients who also got behind this and hope the packs do make at least a small difference for those who are homeless this winter.”