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Variety Launches Warm Hearts Appeal To Help Disadvantaged Kids Sleep Easy This Winter

Variety – the Children’s Charity, has launched its annual Warm Hearts Winter Appeal to provide vital beds and bedding for over 500 Kiwi kids living in hardship this winter.

The appeal, which runs to the end of July, shines a light on children living in New Zealand’s poorest communities, whose health is impacted because they don’t have a bed of their own.

The effects of COVID-19 have only further exacerbated the financial situation for many of these Kiwi families. Variety is seeing an unparalleled level of demand for help across the country, as families struggle to make ends meet and keep their homes warm for this winter.

Susan Glasgow, Variety Chief Executive says, “The nights are getting longer and colder, and this winter is particularly hard for one in five tamariki living in low-income households without access to basic necessities.

“Many of these kids don’t have their own bed or access to warm bedding – having to share beds due to overcrowding, or sleep on mouldy mattresses or even couches. And with the pandemic placing additional financial strain on families, these children need help more than ever to get through this winter.”

The lack of beds and warm bedding has a detrimental impact on a child’s health. Around 30,000 children are hospitalised every year from preventable, poor-quality housing-related diseases like asthma, pneumonia and bronchiolitis, with hospitalisation rates peaking in winter.

Auckland-based paediatrician, Dr Alison Leversha, has witnessed this harsh reality on the ground and knows how much a warm bed can make a difference.

“Young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor housing as they usually spend more time indoors. When they’re sleeping in these harmful conditions, they’re susceptible to avoidable hospitalisations caused by respiratory diseases. More than 1 in 3 hospital admissions in zero to 14 year olds were due to these preventable illnesses, which shouldn’t be the case at all for our tamariki.

“And the effect on their lives doesn’t end there. Health issues during childhood not only have immediate consequences, such as missing out on school, parents taking time off work and spending scarce resources on the doctor, but can also have an impact on long-term health outcomes, continuing well into adulthood,” adds Leversha.

In light of these dire concerns, Variety’s Warm Hearts Appeal is aiming to raise $190,000 to provide beds and warm bedding for 553 children this year for its Beds for Kids programme run in partnership with the government’s Healthy Homes Initiative (HHI).

“This is a worthwhile cause that caring Kiwis should consider supporting, so that our most poverty-stricken children can sleep through the night and keep warm like every other Kiwi kid,” concludes Glasgow.

Donate to Variety’s Warm Hearts Winter Appeal until the 31st of July.

$45 will fund a warm blanket

$80 will fund a bedding pack

$343 will fund a single bed and bedding pack

$688 will fund a bunk bed and bedding pack

© Scoop Media

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