Army of gifts flood in

Central Leader - - Front Page - By Rhi­an­non Hor­rell

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.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

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.

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