A donation box on the counter of Te Kopua Camp Store, containing more than $300 by the start of the season, meant four more children got to play in Raglan Junior Soccer Club this year – and that made life a whole lot easier for those parents with a few kids playing the game.
But that’s what community is all about, says Jo Thompson who’s run her takeaway business at the domain for more than seven years now.
Determined to keep the donation box going, she’s convinced the cause makes people give a little bit more. And when nearby campers come to buy an onion, for instance, to cook dinner in their caravan, they’re happy at Jo’s suggestion they make a donation rather than pay her across the counter.
“One lady gave $4 for an onion!” she recalls.
Jo’s even had the odd parent come and thank her for sponsoring their child. “But you don’t do it for recompense, do you … it’s just what you do when you’re in a community.”
And the weekly ‘Player of the Day’ meal vouchers, one for each local team playing Saturdays at Kopua domain, have been coming from the camp store for years now. It’s actually part of Jo’s contract, she reveals, “but I would’ve done it anyway”.
The free drink, chips and hotdog or piece of fish are a reward that keeps soccer kids striving and coming back for more.
Then there’s the young teens employed at the shop. “Every local I’ve had has been absolutely brilliant,” Jo enthuses.
She believes the experience gives them a starting point in the working world, in a safe environment with good pay and lieu days when needed.
And what if Kopua domain gets that big sports complex built on it, right where Jo’s Takeaways is sited amid the playing fields? She’d hate to see it happen and her shop go. But she’s philosophical rather than worried at this stage.
“One door closes, another opens,” she says. Who knows, there might be a reinvented takeaway business of sorts at Kopua domain.