Gifts that keep on giving

With Christmas just around the corner, your community newspaper, Hibiscus Matters is once again spreading the news about our Buy Local Give Local campaign.

Buy Local Give Local, now in its fourth year, asks residents to purchase gift vouchers from local stores while doing their shopping, and donate them to families in our community who need a helping hand at Christmas.

The project is designed to support local families and businesses and has proved its worth since it began in 2013. Another point of difference is that it provides choice to the recipients so that they can provide appropriate gifts.

Many businesses support it in return by placing donation boxes instore and by donating their own vouchers, including both local New World supermarkets.

Each year a little more has been raised and last Christmas was a record with around $2045 worth of vouchers donated on the Coast. More than 100 families were able to purchase Christmas gifts as a result of this generosity.

Every little bit counts; whether it’s the many $10–$50 donations put in the boxes by shoppers, or the $500-worth of supermarket vouchers donated annually by businesses such as Peninsula Landscapes. Rodney MP Mark Mitchell also makes a generous donation each year.

This year the vouchers will be distributed by Hibiscus Coast Community House with their Christmas food parcels and also by Love Soup Hibiscus Coast. Love Soup will add the vouchers to gifts that they will distribute at their first Christmas Day dinner, to be held at Whangaparaoa Hall.

Love Soup has provided a food rescue and free community meal service since July in Whangaparaoa. Director Julie King says the Christmas Day dinner (to be held at 6pm) will likewise be open to anyone, including families. Santa will be there to distribute gifts, which will include Buy Local Give Local vouchers.

Hibiscus Coast Community House manager Christine Alesbury says recently she spoke to a young mother who said this year she would be telling her kids they can’t afford presents, so they would just share “the gift of love” and time together.

“Although as adults we can understand that sentiment, it is pretty hard on young children,” Christine says. “Those are the kind of families that the Community House and Buy Local Give Local helps.”

She says last year’s vouchers were distributed with Christmas parcels, which in total reached 265 people, via organisations such as Hestia Women’s Refuge, Steps Forward and Rodney Adult Mental Health.

The campaign runs from November 2 to December 9. Look out for the posters, sponsored by in local stores.