Immediately after the Earthquake on February 22nd, Grace Vineyard set up a Welfare Centre at our Beach Campus in New Brighton. This Centre was quickly overwhelmed by the need, and together with other church teams, local volunteers and a large group from our own church we quickly started helping to provide vital supplies for locals.
The East side of Christchurch is mainly lower socio-economic, consisting of various suburbs like New Brighton, Aranui, Wainoni, South Shore, North Shore, Parklands, Linwood, Avondale. This area has had many houses destroyed, and most streets have potholes, are extremely bumpy and covered in sewerage, mud and water. In short, it is a real mess which will take months to clean up.
Most houses in this area still have no power, water, phones or toilets, and many of the residents on low incomes don't have cars, or struggle to afford petrol. People can be seen wandering around in a daze, frightened and feeling hopeless.
With encouragement from the local Police, and MP, Lianne Dalziel, we moved the Welfare Centre a few metres down the road from our Beach Campus, to the Roy Stokes Hall at 140 Seaview Rd, New Brighton (opp the Police Station).
This Hall is now the major distribution centre for the East side of Christchurch, stocked with food, drinking water, clothes, sanitary needs, cleaning products, toiletries and candles.
Open every day from 8am till 6pm, many thousands of people are queuing to collect these free supplies, and we also have friendly people to advise and encourage them. At different times we have various social services, like WINZ, the Dept of Social Development, Free Law Advice, Counselling, Prayer,Physiotherapists and even the local MP, all set up to help people.
We are getting huge help from the New Brighton Police, Civil Defence, the NZ Army, the City Council, different church groups and other volunteers, who are helping in various ways.
Food is arriving from all over New Zealand in Helicopters, Trucks, trailers and cars!
We are also sending teams door to door, street by street, to assess the needs of dozens of homes where there are many frightened, elderly and insecure people. Many people break down and weep when our teams arrive.
We also have teams delivering groceries and supplies, digging silt and mud from properties, and also moving peoples belongings out of damaged houses.
Our Beach Campus (111 Seaview Rd) down the road has now become a lively drop-in Centre, and also the hub for our administration and volunteer support. There are places to sit and chat and meet others, a TV to watch, games, free hot food served, and even live entertainment.
Our Youth Alive Trust has set up a daily Kids Programme in the local school grounds for the many kids who can't go to school.
We were continually hearing of people in other areas of the East who were in desperate need of supplies, so we have started to help two other small Help Centres by sending supplies and teams of people to help. These Centres are located at Aranui Primary School (Breezes Rd) and Hampshire St Shopping Area in Aranui.
Every day we have new needs for various supplies, which you can find out by visiting our Grace Earthquake Help Page.
If you would like to donate supplies, or volunteer to help in any way, please call us on (03) 388 54 59 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are excited to think that working together as a large army, we can really make a difference in so many peoples lives.