An­gels are among us

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JOE DAW­SON

THE econ­omy may be on the up but Auck­land City Mis­sioner Diane Robert­son says it will be a long time be­fore the ben­e­fits reach those at the bot­tom of the fi­nan­cial heap.

The mis­sion is in the mid­dle of one of its busiest times of year and Ms Robert­son says peo­ple liv­ing in chronic poverty are still do­ing it tough.

The mis­sion is ask­ing Auck­lan­ders to think about those who will be strug­gling this Christ­mas.

‘‘If there is an eco­nomic re­ces­sion, the last peo­ple to re­cover are the peo­ple in the low­est in­comes,’’ Ms Robert­son says.

‘‘We talk about the trick­le­down ef­fect and it cer­tainly is a trickle by the time it gets to the bot­tom. It’s barely a drip.’’

Re­search shows four out of 10 chil­dren are liv­ing in poverty so no-one should be sur­prised to see queues out­side food­banks and com­mu­nity cen­tres, she says.

The mis­sion’s an­nual Christ­mas ap­peal is un­der way with the aim of raising $1 mil­lion in just six weeks.

‘‘Our cam­paign is about be­com­ing some­one’s an­gel and what we’re do­ing is ask­ing them to spare a thought, and some money or a gift or food, for those who would oth­er­wise go with­out.

‘‘You never know who you could be help­ing; it could be a neigh­bour or a per­son down the street or a child who goes to school with your chil­dren.

‘‘You don’t know what’s hap­pen­ing inside a family, but when you give you will be an an­gel to some­one who would’ve missed out oth­er­wise.’’

The lead-up to Christ­mas is proving as busy as ever for the mis­sion’s vol­un­teer crew.

In the two weeks be­fore De­cem­ber 25, work­ers will have given out up to 15,000 presents for chil­dren who oth­er­wise would not get any­thing and 2500 food parcels that will help feed 5800 chil­dren.

Ms Robert­son says she sees beau­ti­ful ba­bies and chil­dren vis­it­ing the mis­sion who have be­gun their lives in poverty.

‘‘They have al­ready got their po­ten­tial lim­ited by be­ing there. It doesn’t mean to say they are bad mums or dads but they are lim­ited and I find that sad.

‘‘Ev­ery child I see is bouncy and ex­cited about Christ­mas and they are full of po­ten­tial and prom­ise but much of the time that is just not re­alised.’’

Crunch time: Queues form early on Mon­day morn­ing out­side the Auck­land City Mis­sion.

Pho­tos: JOE DAW­SON

Tough time: Auck­land City Mis­sioner Diane Robert­son is ask­ing cit­i­zens to spare a thought for those who are go­ing with­out this Christ­mas.

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