Support a Family puts Christmas on the table

Published on 1st of January, 2022

’Twas two nights before Christmas and all through the hall, hampers of joy were arriving to be collected by all.

A sunny December 23 saw the traditional CMM Christmas hamper initiative, Support a Family, which helped 389 children and 233 adults associated with the Mission at the end of 2021.

For one recipient, Nyreen, a hamper meant Christmas became the relaxed, family-oriented day it should be. Her life was fine until a series of setbacks about six years. Nyreen credits her strong faith in God and the support of a CMM social worker for getting through difficult times. 

She describes Support a Family as a real success story for CMM. Hampers help her significantly. The hardest part of the season becomes hiding some of the hamper contents, including presents, from her granddaughter, she said.

For Tracey, Christmas would have been quiet and boring, and her children would have been disappointed had it not been for a hamper. Much as she tries to be organised and stay on top of things, as a single mum with six children, some of whom have health concerns, things get stressful at Christmas. In addition to parenting, Tracey has two part-time jobs. 

“The hamper means we can have a nice meal on Christmas Day and a few treats we would have not otherwise had... It sets you up in a good mood for the whole Christmas period and takes away that strain and worry so you’re not as stressed.” Tracey would one day like to reciprocate with a Christmas hamper for another family.

Hampers are offered by individuals, families, organisations or churches. One long-standing supporter is the New Zealand Institute of Management and Leadership, whose Chief Executive Officer Debra Buckley describes the hampers as “one very valued consistent contribution” to society. The Institute gives gifts, Christmas lunch and pantry staples for a family, “who are just like us, wanting the very best for their loved ones.” 

“As a team, we are excited each year to see who will be in our ‘family’ and how we can support them to have an amazing Christmas. We are truly thankful for the opportunity to do a little something for someone else through this programme.”

Support a Family is hosted by the Christchurch North Methodist Parish, the halls of which are filled to capacity with hampers each Christmas. Rev. Anne Preston says the parish’s relationship with the Mission is important to the parish. “They are, after all, us.”

The parish always looks forward to supporting the event. “It is amazing and humbling to see the generosity of people, and important to be reminded of how many people in our city are in need. It is what the spirit of Christmas and Christ is all about.” 

CMM thanks all those who contributed hampers and to the volunteers who put in such a lot of effort on the day.