Making Christmas a brighter time in our community

Support A Family Coordinator Glenda Marshall pictured with some of the donated hampers last year

For two days before Christmas, the Christchurch North Methodist Church was transformed into the hamper distribution centre for the Christchurch Methodist Mission's Support a Family initiative.

Hampers of all shapes and sizes were donated by individuals, families, businesses and churches. The donated hampers enabled 133 families and 40 older or single people to enjoy Christmas without worrying about how they could afford to do so. It also meant that they could celebrate Christmas their way in the comfort of their own home. Along with food, hampers allocated to families contained a present for each child.

CMM Executive Director Jill Hawkey says that Christmas is often a real struggle for families that the Mission works with. "A year of living week to week cannot stretch any further by the time Christmas comes around," she says. "When we think about Christmas we look forward to gathering with friends and family to share in a special meal. Families and older people that are struggling are no different. Support a Family helps them look forward to Christmas with hope and joy rather than feeling anxious about how they will afford it."

It was impressive to see the backdrop of bright wrapping paper, flowing tinsel and a host of toys that formed as the hampers began to fill up the rooms inside the church. The attention to detail that some of the donors paid to their hampers was remarkable. One donor gave a soccer ball that was used in the NZ vs Peru World Cup qualifier and a Liverpool FC top because the boy in the family she prepared a hamper for loved soccer.

Along with the generosity of those putting together hampers, Support a Family enjoyed considerable support from local businesses and volunteers. Staff members from Spark Christchurch volunteered at the donor drop-off day on 20th December and handmade wooden toys were donated by the Santa Claus Workshop Charitable Trust.