Who are we?

Campbell Such

Husband, Father, Grandfather, Passionate surfer and General Manager IT for BidfoodNZ.

Campbell grew up in Titirangi, walked barefoot to school, climbed trees, built treehuts, started surfing at 12 years old and at 15 couldn't imagine life without surfing and he still has the passion - although now it's longboarding and learning the new skills of walking the board, nose riding and drop knee turns.

Admired his Dad for the way he was always there to help

Admires his Mum for somehow coping bringing up 3 kids a year apart each. Yikes it was 3 of us under 2years old at one stage.

Admired his Grandmother for the way she gave back her whole life. Even when she was diagnosed with Osteoporosis, she still did Meals-on-wheels until she couldn't drive any more.

He wants to make a difference giving something back and enjoying doing it - Gifts for Kids is one of those ways

How did you get the idea and then get started with Gifts for Kids?

Here's the story in Campbell's words:

The special magic of Christmas for me, as a young kid, was going to sleep (with great difficulty) on Christmas Eve with the wonder and anticipation of what would be in the pillowcase at the bottom of my bed on Christmas morning. Waking up at 5am all excited, peeking in the pillow case but not being able to touch. Knowing I had to wait till Mum and Dad said it was okay. Then finally, after what seemed like forever, getting the okay and breathlessly opening the presents.

Just before Christmas in 2012 it hit me. There were kids who didn't get a chance to experience that special magic I'd experienced as a kid. Whose parents (for what ever reason) couldn't afford to buy presents for their kids. I knew I wanted to do something to help. But what and how?

If we bought gifts, we couldn't just go and knock on doors looking for kids that would miss out. I couldn't just knock on someones door and ask if they needed presents for their kids.

We needed to find someone, or an organisation, that would know who was in real need.

Els suggested Plunket. And suddenly it felt like we'd found the right organisation. But we had 2 problems: firstly it was only 3 weeks before Christmas in 2012 and secondly would they even be interested. I made the call to the Plunket Head Office in Wellington. The great news was that they were interested. We worked out that the initial area we wanted to support was West Auckland. It's where my roots are - growing up in Titirangi and surfing at Piha.

They put me onto Caro Watts in the Waitakere team and to her enduring credit said "I'll make it happen"

Imagine how you would have felt, dealing with someone who popped up out of the blue, 3 weeks before Christmas, wanting to buy, wrap and deliver gifts to needy kids.

And Caro's enthusiasm for the idea made it work in such a short timeframe!

The first year Els and I bought and wrapped the gifts and Plunket delivered them.

Then in the 2nd year, after getting us checked out (ie Police check etc), we bought the gifts and had a "gift wrapping night" with the Plunket team before going out on the Plunket bus to deliver the gifts in the week leading up to Christmas.

The goal was always to help add some of the special magic of Christmas, with the wonder and anticipation of a present to open on Christmas morning.

And the great feeling I get knowing I've made a difference and a bunch of kids get to experience a little of the specialness of Christmas that they otherwise wouldn't have....magic

Els Such

Wife, Mother, Grandmother

Els came to New Zealand in 1965 and and did her nursing training at Mercy Hospital.

With a daughter and grandchildren who are a huge part of her life and a son who has left home but keeps coming back for meals and to watch sport on TV. Plunket has played a big part in Els's life with their support of her children and grandchildren as they were growing up. And she now feels she can give something back by working with Campbell and Plunket on getting Christmas presents to the children that would otherwise miss out.

In Els's words:

Having moved to NZ with my family as a teenager, I love this country and its people.

I have very fond memories of the Plunket nurses that helped me on my way to become a good mother with the birth of our daughter Emma. And then 15 years later with the birth of our son Oli. Yes I did need the lovely Plunket nurse extraordinaire, Mary of Mt Eden.

I'm very happy to be working with Plunket and with Campbell to give presents to children in need on Christmas morning.

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