WHAT started as a Christmas gift appeal is now providing solace to parents and children in the west as they prepare for the new school year.
The Fiji Times, together with Save the Children Fiji, Williams and Gosling and the Rotary Club of Lautoka, started their gift appeal in December last year as a means of spreading the Christmas joy to families affected by Tropical Cyclone Evan.
The support from people both local and foreign has enabled the organisers to carry on with its distribution of school supplies to the less fortunate and needy students throughout the country.
The Fiji Times marketing manager Foto Ledua said the response from the people was overwhelming.
"Everyday children, families, businesses and tourists come to our office in Suva and to Save the Children Fiji office to drop off their gifts. Some come with one gift, some with plastic bags full and others with boxes," Ms Ledua said.
The gifts are transported to Lautoka every week by Williams and Gosling and distributed throughout the west by the Rotary Club. Rick Eyre of the Rotary Club of Lautoka says it is a privilege for him and his family to distribute these gifts.
"We have made it a family affair so our children can realise how lucky they are and how much difference they can make," he said.
"You have to see the look on their faces, it's incredible."
Last week, a group of teenagers decided to sacrifice their holiday money and give it to a good cause by giving school stationery to the gift appeal. The appeal will continue till the end of this month.