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Helpful neighbors send supplies to remote island

Kasey Jackson | Feb 22, 2019

Kiwanis-family members in New Zealand have come together to pack a 40-foot shipping container

Kiwanis-family members in New Zealand have come together to pack a 40-foot shipping containerFor more than 20 years, Kiwanis-family members in New Zealand have come together to pack a 40-foot shipping container with supplies for residents of the remote islands of Vanuatu, the country’s northerly neighbor in the South Pacific.

During a pre-packing day in early February, Kiwanis members got things in order.

“We packed nearly 400 boxes of books and other goods in readiness for the main packing day,” says Stella Penn, president of the Kiwanis Club of Drury, Aukland, New Zealand.  

Packing day came two weeks later.

“There was an amazing turnout of 37 volunteers, including nine Key Clubbers,” Penn says. “There were teams packing yet more boxes of goods, others stacking on pallets for the fork hoist to take to the container, others sorting out boxes stored in sheds and a team actually packing the container — which has to be very precise with no spare spaces. It was an incredible team effort with amazing camaraderie.”

The contents of the container included desks and chairs, school books, other books, school uniforms and other clothing, toys and puzzles, sewing machines and fabric for the Threads Across the Pacific project and much more.

Kiwanis-family members in New Zealand have come together to pack a 40-foot shipping containerPenn says that while the volunteers on the New Zealand side had a lot of work to do, volunteers and members of the Kiwanis Club of Port Vila in Vanuatu have to do more than just unload.

“When the container reaches Vanuatu, it is unloaded on the local cricket pitch, and everything has to be sorted and allocated to where the need was the greatest, often in the many outlying islands of Vanuatu,” she says. “The boats shipping the goods over to the islands are often very small, and legs have to be removed from the desks in order to fit.”

Read more about the Threads Across the Pacific project on the Kiwanis magazine blog at kiwanismagazine.org.

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