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Forty years on and still collecting

Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind (RNZFB)

29 September 2006

Forty years on and still collecting

With eight children, 25 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren you'd think Jessie Main (82) would have enough activities to fill her day, but after over forty years of support, she's still collecting for the RNZFB's Blind Week.

"It's such a worthy cause to collect for and something that affects so many people," says Jessie whose brother is now vision-impaired. "We're all getting older, and more and more of us are going to need support from the Foundation of the Blind.

"To give your time as a collector means you are directly helping blind New Zealander's. And it's really no time at all - you can even ask to collect at a time that suits you."

Jessie has missed only one appeal in the last 42 years - quite a feat that few people have accomplished, but Jessie takes it all in her stride.

"I started collecting after visiting blind people at what was then the Blind Institute. I've always been inspired by the achievements of blind and vision-impaired people and really see collecting as my way of supporting their independence," says Jessie.

"Each year I think this'll be my last appeal but while I'm still fit enough I'll keep on!"

During Blind Week (24-30 October) the RNZFB must raise $1.1 million.

Thousands of volunteers are needed nationwide to "rattle a bucket" at their local supermarket, CBD or shopping centre for as little as two hours on 27, 28 or 29 October.

Visit or call 0800 002 345 to talk to your local RNZFB Fundraising Manager about how you can help make Blind Week a success.

It will cost the RNZFB approximately $22 million this year to provide essential services to 11,700 blind, deafblind and vision-impaired New Zealanders. With only one-third coming from government sources, the RNZFB must raise the rest.

Photo: Jessie in the fluro orange Blind Week collector gear


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