That is where 80 or so volunteers from all over Rarotonga gathered to help make and pack the 1000 boxes that will be distributed throughout the Cook Islands to the less fortunate.
Some volunteers were on hand on Friday night, too, to unpack all the goodies from the container and move them into the hall.
The is the seventh year that Vaiana George and her team have done the Christmas Box.
Fundraising for the 1000 boxes started a couple of months out with sausage sizzles, and then there was the major fundraiser evening held at Coastal Kitchen last week.
Originally a youth-based initiative adopted from Life Church NZ, Christmas Box Cook Islands has doubled from the initial 500 boxes (250 donated from Life Church and 250 through local sponsorship).
George took over coordinating the project in 2013 and has been running it since then.
Volunteers were on hand on Saturday morning to first unload the container of all the products, make up the boxes, pack the boxes and then flatten all the cardboard and other packaging.
The volunteers comprised staff from the three banks (with BSP and BCI being partners in the project), the occasional Head of Ministry, senior public servants, members from Are Pua and other churches and everyday folk.
Paul Lynch (also known as Elvis) took the lead points-person role and was akin to a Hi-de-Hi camp leader, helping to make the morning a lot of fun. That guy has a lot of energy and with mic in hand is never short of a word.
Around 400 boxes are destined for the Pa Enua and are being shipped there free of charge, thanks to the generous support of Taio Shipping.
Sponsors whose help has been integral to the success of the project include the Motor Centre, CITC Liquor, Transam, and TOA Gas which supplies the gas for the weekly sausage sizzles, as well as a plethora of others.
Vaiana’s conviction is found in Proverbs 19:17: “Whoever is kind to the poor, lends to God.”
– Jaewynn McKay