With everything that’s going on, Christmas crept up on us a bit this year. But it is perhaps more important than ever to think of others this festive season and do our best to spread a little joy.
Lockdowns have left many locals in dire straits, with agencies reporting a substantial increase in demand for food parcels and other support.
Anxiety levels are heightened and for some, the approach of Christmas when money is tight may add to that stress. At times like that, a little kindness goes a long way.
So, Hibiscus Matters is rolling out its annual Buy Local Give Local collection in the hope of sharing that love around.
This year, again, we are asking anyone who can – including our local politicians – to purchase and donate food items (staples and Christmas treats) and vouchers from local businesses to those in need (more details below).
We see this as a win/win situation – supporting local businesses while filling a community need.
Time is tight though – items need to be under the tree at Hibiscus Matters’ office in Ōrewa by December 14.
Everything donated will be divided between three local groups – Whangaparāoa Police and Love Soup Hibiscus Coast for their Christmas hampers, and the Hibiscus Coast Community House’s foodbank in Ōrewa.
This ensures everything donated reaches local people.
Love Soup director Julie King says demand for food has gone up six-fold since lockdown, but so far the organisation is keeping up.
At this stage, it is uncertain whether the free Christmas dinner that Love Soup provides will be able to go ahead, but regardless, they will be making up around 200 Christmas hampers. That is where donations through Hibiscus Matters will go.
“It’s magic what the paper, and the community does for us every year,” Julie says.
Hibiscus Coast Community House manager Christine Alesbury says she is expecting more demand for the foodbank as we approach Christmas, and also for Christmas parcels.
She says foodbank numbers have been steady during lockdown with the service delivering parcels or having contactless pick up.
“As we have not been open it has been hard for people to drop donations off and being in lockdown meant we couldn’t run our raffles and sausage sizzle fundraisers,” Christine says. “With the shop and our venues closed we have had no income either. We have used monetary donations to buy the basics and will continue to do that, but the special extra items (listed below) are what makes Christmas parcels special.
As always we appreciate Hibiscus Matters’ support and that of our wonderful community.”
Whangaparāoa Police have run their Christmas hamper initiative for four years.
Hamper recipients are nominated by Police staff who have first-hand experience with individuals and families who need a helping hand.
Whangaparāoa station support officer, Charlotte Jones, says it’s tough out there, so they are more grateful than ever to anyone who has the ability to donate to others. “Let’s give to those less fortunate for the pure goodness of giving.”
Sgt Brett Hanly says it is times like this that define a community such as ours, where we all band together to ensure everyone has good Christmas.
“Thanks in advance to our community for everything you do,” he says.
With both Whangaparāoa and Ōrewa Police stations closed to the public currently, the ability for people to leave donations at the station may be compromised – so they can be dropped off at Hibiscus Matters office in Ōrewa instead.
The Auckland lockdown has left small businesses vulnerable to closure and many people struggling to put food on the table.
Both can be assisted at once through our Buy Local Give Local campaign.
Let’s get some goodies under Christmas trees and some smiles on faces.
Please note, items can be delivered (contactless) to Hibiscus Matters at 21 Florence Ave, Ōrewa, by Tuesday, December 14. This enables the items to be passed on to the agencies in time for them to make up and distribute parcels.
Top of the wish list
Vouchers from local businesses would be much appreciated by all recipients. As well as supermarket and petrol vouchers, think about supporting a small business by purchasing a gift voucher from them.
Community House foodbank – Jelly, instant pudding, children’s muesli bars, family biscuits, plain crackers, treats such as chocolate, bags of lollies, chips, popcorn, mince pies, drink sachets, jam, Milo or Nesquik, pikelet or cake mix. Any Christmas treat foods – especially those suitable for children.
Police hampers – Donations of both luxury food items and staples are requested.
Love Soup hampers – Any special treat foods for the Christmas table would be much appreciated.
NOTE: Sorry, but Hibiscus Matters is not able to accept any wrapped, or unwrapped gifts.