For many of us Christmas is a time of celebration and excess – too much food, gifts galore and enjoying time with family and friends. But Christmas can also be a time of crisis for many families around New Zealand, highlighting poverty, abuse and welfare issues. Using Christmas as a time to give not just to give to friends and family but also to those in need is a wonderful way to truly honour the Christmas spirit.
There are lots of ways to help, but we have compiled just a few ideas about how you can make a difference this Christmas.
The Christmas Box annual Christmas appeal has been running since 2001 and was first known as ‘The Christmas Hamper Project’. It began with just 20 volunteers who wanted to help families in need by collecting food items for donation. The idea quickly grew and is now a huge project with help from major sponsors like Sanitarium.
How you can help: By sponsoring a box for $30 you give a Christmas box filled with food and treats to one of over 10,000 families in need. With a retail price of over $75 that can make a huge difference to a family at Christmas. Visit http://www.christmasbox.co.nz/sponsor-a-box to donate.
Packing day: This is where hundreds of volunteers come together to pack the Christmas Boxes so they are ready for distribution in time for Christmas. it is a huge undertaking that sees corporate groups, friends and families joining together for a busy fun day of box packing.
To find out more about Christmas Box, to help at the packing day or to sponsor a box visit the website http://www.christmasbox.co.nz or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Kmart Wishing tree:
The Kmart Wishing Tree is New Zealand’s longest running Christmas gift appeal. It began in Adelaide in 1988 when a team member suggested using Kmart stores as a drop off point for charity’s at Christmas. Since then the Kmart Wishing Tree has distributed over 420,000 gifts to those in need. Kmart NZ is partnered with the Salvation Army and distributes Christmas gifts to children as well as many adults and seniors in need every year.
How you can help:
You can donate by taking gifts into any Kmart store, attaching a tag to show the age and gender the gift is suitable for, and placing it under the Wishing Tree, alternatively you can drop off gifts at the express drop off point at the front of the store. Gifts will then be collected by a Salvation Army Representative for distribution.
Gifts do not need to be purchased from Kmart but must be new (not used or second hand)
You can also donate cash via the website, or in store at any Kmart by taking a bauble from the Wishing Tree to the checkout, dropping a coin into the coin box at the register or clicking the ‘Give’ button at the self-serve checkout. Cash Gifts will be converted into Kmart Gift Cards and distributed to those in need. Find out more or donate at http://www.kmart.co.nz/WishingTree
Foster Hope Christmas Gift Drive
Foster Hope is a registered New Zealand charity that provides the basic needs for children in foster care. Many children arrive in Foster care with very few belongings. Foster Hope makes up packs for these children giving them all the essential items such as toiletries and toys or books to provide comfort.
Christmas is unfortunately the worst time of year for family violence and child neglect, seeing an increase in child abuse and crisis management cases. The Foster Hope Christmas Gift gift drive aims to ensure that no child misses out on gifts this Christmas.
How you can help: Donate new unwrapped gifts for babies, children or teenagers by taking them to one of the drop off points around the country.
Find out more about the Foster Hope at http://www.fosterhope.org.nz/
Auckland City Mission:
The Auckland City mission is a well-known icon for charity and giving to the needy in Auckland. Each Christmas, the City Mission angel wings can be seen at various points around Auckland City.
This Christmas the Auckland City Mission will:
- Provide 4,000 Christmas emergency food parcels enabling families to celebrate Christmas at home
- Distribute 8,000 presents to Auckland children who would otherwise miss out, including through other community organisations
- Host 2,000 guests at their Christmas Lunch
- Continue to be there every day for Aucklander’s in desperate need
This year Auckland City Mission are running their Christmas appeal ‘Become Somebodys Angel’ allowing you to donate via their website towards food and gifts for those in need.
How you can Help:
- Sign up as an Angel at becomesomeonesangel.co.nz by clicking ‘Register’ at the top of the page, set a fundraising target and then ask your family, friends and colleagues to support your fundraising efforts. You could also do fun things like have a cupcake day at work to raise funds.
- Make a financial donation to their Christmas Appeal at becomesonesangel.co.nz. A donation of $20 will buy Christmas Presents for two children, who would otherwise miss out, or provide lunch for two guests at the Mission’s Christmas Lunch.
- Drop a new, unwrapped present or non-perishable food into the Mission at 140 Hobson Street or in the Mission donation box at your local Auckland ASB branch.
World Vision are well known for their international efforts around the world, providing relief in emergency situations and working on long term projects to help communities in need.
How you can help: This Christmas Instead of buying token gifts for those hard to buy for relatives why not give on their behalf to World Vision? There are a wide selection of ‘smiles’ gifts that will make a real different to families in need around the world. You can choose to buy a school starter kit for $25, building tools or clean water for $45 or a mini farm for a family for $145. To find out more and donate a gift go to https://www.worldvision.org.nz/ways-to-give/smiles
Sponsor a child: For $45 a month you can sponsor a child from around the world which contributes to a wide variety of costs towards their education, food water and hygiene and much more. Find out more here https://www.worldvision.org.nz/sponsor-a-child
These are just a few ways to help spread Christmas Cheer, however if you can’t donate time or money you can still help by simply having a good clear out and taking any good condition toys, books, clothes and household items to the City Mission, Salvation Army, Red Cross or many of the other charities that take second hand goods.