ASB Good as Gold is an ASB initiative recognising, rewarding and helping wonderful people in our community. We ask the public to nominate people, who are making a real difference in their community, have grabbed hold of life against the odds or who really deserve help in a time of hardship. The recipients are featured on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp programme.
This inspirational story will warm even the coldest heart. On a winter’s night in 2015, Auckland artists Bernie Harfleet and Donna Turtle Sarten set up a Facebook page called “Give A Kid A Blanket”. Their mission was to pick up spare blankets and winter warmers and give them to local families in need. Today, the initiative is a full time undertaking for them for 3 months of year .Last year 2,789 blankets were given to needy children over winter.
From June to August each year, Bernie spends his days filling his ute with donations that people have left at the 50 drop off points across Auckland, some days travelling up to 200km. Donna works in a donated warehouse, bundling up care packages with pyjamas, sheets, duvets and soft blankets for district health nurses and community groups. For older children who might be bed sharing, they often give them sleeping bags.
Every day truck and boot loads of donations come in, and every day the donations are sent out to where they are needed. Any blankets that have seen better days are turned into dog beds that they hand sew out of coffee sacks, fill with duvet inners that are not clean enough to go out and then donate to animal welfare groups.
Unsung heroes, Bernie and Donna have created a wonderful community of people donating and helping them with their initiative. The faces behind the drop off points or people collecting parcels are all captured and shared on their Facebook Page. To recognise the selfless work this couple does, we gave Bernie and Donna a $6,000 travel voucher so they can take off for a well-deserved break after the 2017 collection finishes. We also gave them $4,000 to spend on blankets to kick-start their 2018 collection drive next year.
The Give A Kid A Blanket collections for 2017 have now closed but you can join the community on their Facebook Page to keep posted on future collection calls.
Do you know someone who has grabbed hold of life against the odds? Someone with a heart- warming story who’s making a real difference? Someone who’s had a bit of bad luck and needs a boost? You can nominate them for ASB Good As Gold on Seven Sharp's Facebook Page.