Helping whānau wrap up warm at night

Published on 30th of April, 2023

Since taking over the Blanket Bank last September, CMM has been meeting the demand for free blankets and bedding in communities across Ōtautahi.

Our Community Development team who operate the Blanket Bank see a diverse range of people requesting bedding, including single people, young families, large extended families, blended families, and the working poor. They also receive many agency referrals.

“I’m saddened when we see people who are working full time. We’re seeing those parts of our community who are working full time and are still unable to afford these items with the crunch of cost of living,” says Community Development Worker Elizabeth McGougan.
With the colder weather setting in, there has been a sharp increase in requests that often outnumbers the levels of blankets and bedding available. “Everything that comes in is pretty much gone by the next week,” says Elizabeth.

In March we asked parishes to consider hosting a blanket drive, and many responded to this call with generous collections. Businesses have also made donations and we’ve created a partnership with the Tamaiti Healthy Homes initiative. “The community has come through,” says Community Development Practice Lead Fionna Chapman.

The Blanket Bank is more than simply a distributor of bedding. The wrap-around support offered by CMM helps recipients achieve better health and wellbeing. “We try really hard to read between the lines on a referral form to see if there are ways we can offer help,” says Fionna. “If someone hasn’t turned up to collect their bedding in the agreed time frame, for example, we will try to find out what the barrier is and see if we are able to help out by delivering the bedding. We have had clients who rely on the bus service to collect bedding, or have had to juggle parenting commitments to get to our collection point.”

The team try to connect people into other services where they identify a need. “If I notice it’s a big whānau and I see their need is high I’ll ask them; have you spoken to Healthy Homes? Who else can we link you to? Because it’s not just a blanket,” says Elizabeth.

Many of the families who request blankets are living in cold, damp homes. “There are houses that simply do not have any heating in them,” says Elizabeth. “Some households will open up the oven after cooking dinner, and that’s their form of heating.”


Please consider hosting a ‘Blanket Drive’ or making a financial donation to help cover operating costs by clicking here and selecting 'Blanket Bank' from the programme drop-down menu.

Blankets/bedding can be dropped off at: