Christmas Appeal: Giving a sense of hope

As Mahurangi Matters’ annual Christmas appeal picks up steam, partner agencies are calling on the community to throw its support behind the effort in response to significant needs this year.

Gifts and food items can be left under the Christmas tree at 17 Neville Street, between 8.30am and 5pm on weekdays until Monday, December 11. Women’s Centre Rodney, Homebuilders Family Services and Warkworth Christian Foodlink will then distribute them.

“Christmas is usually such an exciting time, but for many of our families who are already making difficult financial decisions and are feeling the added pressure of buying gifts, this year will be quite different,” says Women’s Centre manager Jo Nicholson.

“This is our opportunity to support our families to say yes. Yes, we can still have gifts and yes, we can celebrate Christmas this year – relieving the pressure and giving a sense of hope, which is often the best gift anyone can give at the end of a difficult year.

“Your contribution to our annual Christmas appeal helps ensure that each child wakes up with a special gift on Christmas Day – puts a smile on their face and helps their family to make their own precious memories.”

As was the case last year, families will receive a text from ‘Santa’s elf’ during the week of December 18, inviting them to come to the Women’s Centre to collect presents.

“It was a lovely buzz and the families loved actually selecting presents that suited their family,” Jo says. “And they wrote such beautiful notes of thanks.”

She says vouchers for local businesses are particularly good in the case of teenagers, when knowing what to buy can often be more difficult.

“We also love gift vouchers to local activities, as these are great for family outings, which often go on the back burner when money gets tight.

“Gifts need to be new, but they don’t need to be wrapped,” Homebuilders coordinator Quentin Jukes says. “It is great if parents can see what the gifts are, then they can choose something that will be right for their child. Probably the group who are most at risk of missing out are teenagers, so any gifts suitable for this age group would be appreciated, too.”

Quentin says gift vouchers are a good idea, as parents themselves then get to buy a special gift for their child.

“We know how appreciative families are to have this support. You can imagine how it would be for a child on Christmas morning if they have a gift there for them, as opposed to a child having nothing.”

Warkworth Christian Foodlink, which is managed by the Mahu Vision Community Trust, hands out Christmas treat boxes, and has provided a list (above) of the items it includes in them. Gifts of these items would be appreciated.

Warkworth Christian Foodlink request list:
Boxed chocolates
Blocks of chocolate
Candy canes
Potato chips
Christmas mince pies
Biscuits & crackers
1.5 litre soft drinks
Sparkling grape juice
Raro sachets
Tinned fruit salad
Tomato sauce
Onion soup mix
Reduced cream