Army of gifts flood in
HUNDREDS of struggling Auckland families will have a happier Christmas thanks to the kindness of strangers.
The Central Leader and Salvation Army Christmas Appeal has now closed and the generosity of locals has been overwhelming.
A shortage of gifts for teens has been met with a variety of items – lip glosses, clothing vouchers, frisbees, toiletries and Lynx gift sets, among other donated items which will be distributed this week.
The Central Leader office and Auckland Safe Kids In Daily Supervision centres have been drop-off points over recent weeks.
More than 200 gifts have been dropped into the paper’s office while more than 700 items were collected by SKIDs centres across Auckland.
SKIDs co-ordinator Jenny Parsons says the Balmoral centre has been one of the most popular drop-off points.
“I’m quite surprised by some of the gifts. People are bringing in brand new toys. It blew me away.”
Salvation Army Auckland community ministries director Caryn Daly says the appeal has been a great success.
“The toys are smaller but people are still giving.”
She says army staff have been working hard to put to- gether hampers in the leadup to Christmas.
Newmarket Rotary Club members and army staff compiled 650 hampers in one evening, while organisers plan to have everything delivered to families by today.
“We are still running the foodbank so it’s a busier pace,” says Ms Daly.
“We have a really good volunteer base. It’s gone very smoothly and there have been no hiccups thanks to the public getting on board.”
Army staff have been busy putting together a variety of hampers – some have toys and some have items to make a Christmas Day meal.
She says more than 800 hampers have Christmas Day food for a roast.
Children at the Oranga SKIDs centre have enjoyed being part of the cause.
Student Tiarna Stothers, 10, says the concept has been “really cool” to help those in need.
“It’s a great idea. Some people can’t afford presents.”
She is hoping for a new mobile phone and a new Nintendo DS charger but adds: “The main thing I want is to be with my family.”
Central Leader editor Katherine Forbes says she’s delighted so many readers got behind this year’s appeal.
“Every day when more and more presents were dropped into the office we were overwhelmed at people’s generosity. It’s heart-warming to know that even in difficult financial times there are still people out there willing to dig into their pockets and help people out who are less fortunate.”
The Central Leader wishes to thank everyone who helped out with the appeal and wishes all our readers a safe Christmas and happy New Year.
Gifts for families: Oranga School SKIDs helpers and the Salvation Army have worked together to help with the appeal. Clockwise from top left: Christian Littlejohn, Ben Williams, SKIDs co-ordinator Jenny Parsons, Xavier Morris, Army community ministries director Caryn Daly, Kheal Paddy and Tiarna Stothers.