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When the February 2011 earthquake hit Christchurch, the Bouffandeau family found themselves in a difficult position.
Pascal, a student teacher, used to ride his bike from their home in New Brighton to the city. During the earthquake, his bike was destroyed.
With no bike, and with the city’s bus services disrupted by the quake, Pascal had no other option but to drive across town to get to work.
And with Pascal using the car, his wife Bec found it extremely difficult to get around with the couple’s two small children.
A grant from Red Cross enabled Bec to buy an economical second family car, which meant more to the family than just transport. It kept their family mobile but also made them feel safer in light of potential tsunami risks posed by the earthquakes.
Bec says the Red Cross grant was a blessing. As there were no restrictions on what the money was spent on, they were able to buy exactly what they needed and it changed their lives, she says.
When an aftershock broke the family’s chimney and left a large hole in the roof, Red Cross once again lent a helping hand. Bec and Pascal received a winter assistance grant, enabling the family to keep the heating on and stay warm.
Bec and Pascal’s story is just one of many to come out of the Christchurch recovery. Since the earthquakes, Red Cross has helped one in four Cantabrians – more than 110,000 people – through its grants programme.
Bec is now paying it forward, by sending knitted sent teddy bears and clothes up to Auckland for newly arrived refugees.
“Thank you, Red Cross. My husband has qualified as a teacher and we're no longer in the same financial circumstances. We appreciate the value of your work,” she says.