Rather than finding restrictions imposed by Covid-19 a limiting experience, Mangawhai Helping Hands re-thought its Christmas activities for children and expanded them to cover additional towns.
Normally the charitable trust organises a Christmas party for families and children, who could use a bit of extra help, at the Mangawhai Domain.
With Covid severely limiting the party last year and threatening to scupper it completely this year, Helping Hands decided to organise a Christmas trail in Mangawhai and add two additional trails in Wellsford and Maungaturoto.
Helping Hands lead administrator Libby Clews says the trail activity kept families safe in their own bubble as they moved from point to point. At each point, children were required to participate in an activity such as push-ups, solving a riddle, drawing a picture, or cracking a code – in addition to figuring out where to head to next on the trail.
The trails in each town had 12 stops. On the eighth stop, children could enter a shop for a free ice cream and on the final stop they were able to unlock a treasure chest and find a Christmas gift with their name on it.
Participants could complete the trail any time during the period December 6 to 20.
Libby says due to the generous support of sponsors, she was able to buy more than 900 gifts for children, which included books, puzzles, dolls, colouring-in materials and sports equipment.
“My car barely had enough room for all the gifts,” she says.
Libby says once Helping Hands has been able to evaluate the success of the trails, it may repeat them again next year. Alternatively, it may go back to the traditional Christmas party, but hold one in Wellsford and Maungaturoto in addition to Mangawhai.