The Giving Tree initiative makes children smile
The Bank of South Pacific (BSP) branch in the Cook Islands has had one of its most successful years to date with its annual Christmas Giving Tree initiative. Over 640 gifts have successfully reached the children of the 12 islands.
The islands of Penrhyn, Manihiki, Rakahanga, Palmerston, Mauke, Atiu, Mitiaro, Mangaia, Aitutaki, Rarotonga, Pukapuka and Nassau all received gifts, and all but one of the islands received their gifts just in time for Christmas Day .
The BSP Giving Tree is an annual tradition that dates back over 13 years. In partnership with the Ministry of the Interior, they were able to deliver gifts during the year to less fortunate children in Rarotonga and Pa Enua.
David Street, National Director of BSP, said: âThe Giving Tree is something that we have continued to push forward. The main objective is to make sure that the less unhappy children who may not have a gift for Christmas are smiling again and that is what drives us. We are delighted to give children a gift that will bring them a big smile for Christmas.
The support from the community has been incredible, says Street. Support companies adopted different islands and their staff bought gifts. CITC and Mareko graciously offered discounts on purchases and Taio Shipping provided subsidized transport to many outer islands.
âWe are extremely grateful for the generous support from the community and look forward to continuing the initiative into 2022,â Street said.
Logistically, it has always been a big challenge to collect and ensure that all the gifts are dispatched on time for Christmas. A total of 12 out of 15 islands were covered in 2021 and BSP was able to ensure that all but one of the islands received their gifts before Christmas Day which was a great result.
Planning by the staff begins in August each year, with plenty of fundraisers along the way, including sizzling sausages.
Street said, “Staff cannot do it alone and the generous support of the community and help from business partners are always sought and appreciated.”
He extended a great meitaki both to community members who bought gifts and to supporting businesses. Supporting companies this year included Taio Shipping, Avarua Bakery, CITC, Mareko, Federal Pacific Insurance, and Cook Islands Building Supplies.
Staff from the following companies and agencies helped with the giveaways: Prime Foods, Treasury Management Division (MFEM), MMR, Tangata Family, TEM Store, ANZ Bank, Asiaciti, Tower Insurance, Pacific Resort, Vodafone, LMPC, MFEM, and KPMG.
Island representatives from each island confirmed that the gifts had all been received with photos of smiling children slowly filtering through.
âThis is probably the best year we have had with the giving tree. It continues to improve year after year. We will be back in 2022 and we look forward to continuing, âStreet said.