A Christchurch Methodist Mission initiative has brought Christmas cheer to people for whom the season might otherwise have been disappointing.
Each year, Support a Family gives individuals, families, businesses and churches the chance to offer families and single people in need a Christmas hamper chock full of goodies.
In December, 150 families and 50 older or single people received hampers through Support a Family.
Recipients are clients of CMM or other social service organisations. Many of the single people this year were clients of Housing First, a collaboration led by the Christchurch Methodist Mission that ambitiously aims to end homelessness in Christchurch by next year.
Each hamper was tailored to the needs of the recipient. Toys, confectionary, food, Christmas decorations, household goods – even pet food – were among the items that made their way into the hampers.
Drop-off day was 20th December. Once all the hampers were received, the gymnasium of the Christchurch North Methodist Church was full to brimming. Volunteers from Spark helped out and local company Cold Hire donated the use of a refrigerated trailer. The hampers were either picked up the next day by recipients or delivered to them by CMM staff.
"People have a lot of fun putting the hampers together knowing they'll make Christmas enjoyable for a family or person who would otherwise be unable to afford Christmas," Support a Family Coordinator Glenda Marshall said.
"It's a way of telling people at this financially tough time of year that others care about them and are concerned about their welfare. Goodwill is strong at Christmas."
CMM Executive Director, Jill Hawkey, says household budgets that are already stretched just can't go any further at Christmas. "Rather than being a time of year that families look forward to, it can often be a period of stress and anxiety. A Christmas hamper can make all the difference."
Recipients thanked the donors, with one saying their donor made the family feel that people really did care. Another said, "I was blown away by your generosity. The thought that went into each child's parcel brought a tear to my eye."
Picture Caption: The team from the Ministry of Justice drops off hampers for Support a Family 2018