Earlier this week we met up with our SLG friends for our monthly get-together. Calvin was in charge of the day and arranged for us to meet for morning tea at 10.00am at Upper Hutt. Which meant a bright and early start for us, as we travelled the 95 kms to our destination. Our journey started in light drizzle, but soon disappeared as we reached our destination. Which, as it turned out, was my all time favourite café, the Fig Tree, often visited when we previously resided in this area.
After we had sipped our coffees and caught up with everyone’s news, Calvin directed us to Wingate to visit EarthLink. The friendly manager welcomed us inside and explained exactly how EarthLink started and the philosophy behind it. The organization was now housed in large premises, formerly the Post Office Stores, and later, Precision Engineering. We all knew about the recycling shop, and have donated items here ourselves, but most of us were unaware what else they did.
EarthLink is involved in a number of commercial enterprises to assist in achieving self funding so that they can provide on going training for people with mental health or other disabilities to return to full or part time employment.
One of their enterprises is to make a range of garments from donated unused corporate clothing, and we were shown through the workroom. Things were certainly humming here, one lady was cutting out a range of children’s clothing, while others were stitching the small garments together, all from merino fabric from donated corporate clothing.
Out in the workshop, the men are put through their paces with training in woodwork, machinery, and dismantling items to rescue copper and other metals which can be sold on. Several men were busy servicing.motor mowers and the tutor showed us several of the timber projects the men were working on. Once refurbished, these items will all be offered for sale in the shop.
Another initiative was recycling the many plastic bags from supermarkets and the like. EarthLink has a contract to collect plastic bags in large blue bins from supermarkets – these are then put through a compactor, baled and on sold.
Thousands of plastic bags waiting to go through the compactor
Bales of plastic bags ready to be loaded onto a container
It was a very interesting and informative morning, and really opened our eyes to what this organization is all about. They also offer gardening, lawn and odd job services, and will provide manpower for contract services. Our group decided to make a donation to this worthy enterprise. And we couldn't leave without getting a group photo clad in our high viz jackets.
Our SLG friends at EarthLink
Lunch was next on the agenda and we drove to Silverstream to Charltons Hotel . There was a big selection to choose from, and Robin was delighted to see ribs on the menu.
Robin contemplating his rather large serving of ribs
The rest of us chose fish, roast pork or beef, omelets and toasted sandwiches - there was plenty of choices available and everyone was happy with their lunches.
Ready to eat lunch
After our leisurely lunch we said our goodbyes and headed for home, driving through the Pauatahanui Inlet via Paremata. Many thanks to Calvin for arranging an interesting day out.
Houses on the hill in Paremata