From the classic, selfless do-gooder act of planting some trees or donating crucial goods, to those which make us feel good when we do it (puppy fostering, anyone?), there are many small ways for everyone to help their fellow humans or animals or environment this spring.
Foster a puppy, become a personal stylist, plant some trees, give a homeless person a restaurant-quality meal, help welcome a refugee into New Zealand, go to a fancy dinner, do all or some of the above or even just some other small act of kindness and make the world just that little bit better this coming season.
Without the dedicated, hard work of the pooches on the frontline of biosecurity, New Zealand would probably by now have had a lot more biosecurity threats and outbreaks like the famed fruit fly outbreak of 2015 (which ended up costing our country $13.6 million to get rid of). Which is why your country needs you, to foster a puppy.
Yes, you've read correctly. The Ministry of Primary Industries is currently looking for foster families for puppies set to become the detector doggos of the future and they will even cover the expenses involved for looking after said pup.
Detector dog puppies live with families for the first 14 months of their lives before they start their 13-week detector dog training. While living with the families, MPI covers pretty much all of the costs involved with raising a pupper — food, veterinary costs, shampoo and flea treatment, collars, toys, leads etc. In return, you just have to socialise the puppy (read: pat to death) and give it some basic training.
The only catch is you have to be working from home, have to have a large section with a 1.2 metre high wall and have children over the age of four to qualify.
Alternatively, if you don't meet the above criteria, the SPCA is always looking for cat and dog foster parents to look after their animals for a period of three to six weeks. See their website for more details.
Better known for their beach clean up efforts, Sustainable Coastlines are running a tree planing session on October 27 at Harbourview Orangihina Park on Te Atatu Peninsula. Back in 2017 the Sustainable Coastlines team and their supporters managed to get 5000 native plants and trees planted in the surrounding area and are hoping to keep up the good work this year. Show up any time from around 9.45am at the car park opposite Gloria Avenue (look out for the Sustainable Coastlines and Kathmandu flags). The planting session will run from 10am and finish up around 2pm.
Bring sturdy, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, a waterproof jacket and a water bottle. To register, follow this link.
Shopping is often disregarded as a generally flimsy pursuit, but for women who haven't had employment for a while, the right outfit can have a huge impact in their lives — possibly leading to them gaining employment and subsequently financial independence.
Dress for Success is always on the lookout for volunteers keen to work as dressers for these women in order to give them a one-one-one consultation "providing a complete interview outfit, make-up, jewellery, styling and valuable confidence-boosting and job ready support."
Besides helping the women find a snazzy outfit, Dress for Success is a "wrap-around service so she feels confident and prepared for her job interview", which means they also provide career coaching services. For those who might not have time, donating worn, but not worn-out, work clothes is another way to help.
As a Red Cross refugee resettlement volunteer your job is to help settle refugee families or individuals into their new home in New Zealand. What that looks like in practice can include everything from setting up their home before they arrive, helping them enrol into schools and with doctors' medical practices, showing them how to use public transport and introducing them to other typical Kiwi quirks like Eftpos cards and how jandals are socially acceptable footwear almost 100 percent of the time. It also includes just being there for them and helping support them in setting up their new life as you would support a friend.
The first two to four weeks of a resettlement volunteer's placement is generally the busiest, filled with the lion's share of initial appointments and settling in tasks. After about the six weeks mark less time is generally required as the family settles in, by which stage volunteers typically visit the families or individuals on a weekly basis. For those who can't make the time commitment, the Red Cross also highly welcome donations of first or secondhand furniture and household electronics to help set up the refugee families' homes.
When award-winning, international chef Peter Gordon's sister was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in 1995, he donated the bone marrow that saved her life. Since then Gordon has stayed passionate about the cause. This October he's teaming up with SkyCity and 13 other chefs to run Dining for a Difference, a unique, progressive dinner to raise funds for Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand.
Thirteen world-renowned chefs will produce a four-course menu with matching wines to provide a distinctive dining experience for a few hundred diners. 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand. There will also be an exclusive auction held on the night — prizes include the opportunity to have Peter cooking a special dinner just for you at your house.
Shine is a charity focused on providing "a range of effective, practical and innovative services to achieve our mission to stop domestic abuse in New Zealand". The charity works directly to help thousands of adult and child victims every year to become safe and stay safe through their services which include professional training programs, the DVFREE workplace program, and their health sector partnerships.
The organisation always needs donation of cellphones and chargers (which are in good working condition) to help get women out of dangerous situations. Non-perishable food donations and nappies are also always welcome.
Everybody Eats is a revolutionary dining concept where guests from across all walks of life are served on a 'pay as you feel' basis every Monday night at St Kevin's Arcade on Karangahape Road. 70-80 percent of Everybody Eats' customers are usually homeless. Even more amazingly, almost all of the food used in the meal is rescued, with dairy and eggs usually being the only exception.
The team are always after waiters as well as cooks and people keen on helping clean up afterwards. In the past chefs from leading restaurants such as Cazador, Mudbrick, Oyster Inn and SkyCity have given their time to help prepare a mouthwatering, three-course rescued meal.