Always the first to respond to emergencies and often confronted with tragic situations as a result, the brave men and women who work as our firefighters deserve so much more than what they currently get for their lifesaving efforts. This idea is the core ethos of the New Zealand Firefighters Welfare Society, an organisation run by firefighters to look after crews and their families, and a cause that we think is worthy of our philanthropic efforts this season.
In the mid-1980s, a core team of firefighters realised the need for support in their industry, and being a courageous collective, they decided to do something about it themselves. Pooled together, they knew their resources would be able to support one another in times of need. As a practical step to help their fellow firefighters through tough times, they placed a biscuit tin at the centre of their station table and started adding money to it. Soon, this idea spread across the country, and eventually, the NZ Firefighters Welfare Society was born. Over time, this grew to include a dedicated healthcare plan for firefighters and their families in the form of a fund, Healthcare99.
Who Are They
Four decades since its inception, the NZ Firefighters Welfare Society remains steadfast in its ethos — ‘firefighters helping firefighters and their families’. With a board of representatives from up and down the country (all active or retired firefighters) and five regional welfare managers, it remains a grassroots, not-for-profit that ensures its efforts are delivered to those who need it most.
What They Do
Firefighters and their families can take advantage of abundant support for a small weekly membership commitment. Alongside welfare assistance (including injury and hospital assistance, loans and grants, and further support such as childbirth and adoption, counselling and disaster funds), members also receive discounts at many essential daily businesses. These include insurance providers, mechanics and large appliance retailers, fast-tracked connections to external support networks and access to society-owned holiday homes for the break they absolutely deserve. Given that the Society has been built by those who know the industry intimately, it has honed in on providing the support that is targeted and strategic, and makes a significant and measurable impact.
How To Get Involved
The NZ Firefighters Welfare Society relies hugely on philanthropic support. Financial donations are always welcome if you have the capacity to contribute. Word of mouth is also tremendously important to their efforts, as membership contributions support other members in their times of need, too.