Soldiers from 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion at Burnham Military Camp help load shipping containers with donations destined for Samoan schools and churches.

Soldiers from 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion at Burnham Military Camp have provided a crucial link for a local community charity delivering donated goods to Samoan schools and churches.

For the third year in a row, Army trucks have been collecting hundreds of desks, chairs, books, stationary, clothing and other essentials for the Pacific Island Hope Mission.

Mission directors Jason and Sandy Watson, who started the project in 2017 after a visit to Samoa, early on approached the Army for help to transport and pack the donations.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity for developing community spirit,” Mr Watson said.

“The Army are well organised, reliable and fantastic at the logistics in planning when we gave them our ideas.

“We are so encouraged by their input. It means so much to us as we can’t do this on our own.”

Lieutenant Melissa De Lange said they were more than happy to help such a cause.

“We were thrilled when the Watsons reached out to us again to assist with this task again, we also helped in 2018 and 2019. It is a privilege to be allowed to support the community in this way again.

“The drivers were very excited to use their military skills to help the charity and it wasn’t hard to get volunteers which showed their desire and commitment to help the local community,” Lieutenant De Lange said.

“We look forward to working with Jason and Sandy again in the future. We are all very impressed with their work for community in Samoa.”

The team provided two HX77 Medium Heavy Operational Vehicles (MHOV) to move the shipping containers and two HX60 MHOVs with 20 soldiers to assist in both collecting and packing the shipping containers.

The containers were then delivered to Lyttelton Port ready for transporting to Samoa.

Mr Watson said they couldn’t have delivered the goods they had without Army assistance.

“They are amazing and we are so grateful for their kindness as this is so big for us. We never imagined that a little island holiday would develop into a mission helping people in this way,” he said.

The New Zealand High Commission in Apia recently granted the Pacific Island Hope Mission funding to help with freights cost over the next two years.

Soldiers from 3rd Combat Service Support Battalion at Burnham Military Camp help load shipping containers with donations destined for Samoan schools and churches.

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