Community helps needy families
Special Christmas food hampers and gifts will once again be given to struggling families in the district, thanks to the generosity of the community.
Every year the Salvation Army in Waihi spearheads the appeal to help those who can’t afford to celebrate the festive season.
Waihi Corps Major Wendy Sanson says it co-ordinated with agencies in the area that referred clients in need, and liaises with St Vincent de Paul.
Last year 53 hampers were given to families that also included toys for 123 children.
Waihi was “blessed” to have such a giving community, Wendy says, and now the Salvation Army is in collection mode alongside its community partners.
People who want to donate could take food items and unwrapped, new toys to the BNZ, the Salvation Army or the Salvation Army Family Store.
She says new books, games and toiletries for teenage boys made great gifts but any items would be gratefully received.
“I think books and board games are great for any household. We also provide gift wrapping paper so parents are able to see what their children are getting and wrap the presents themselves.”
In 2017 the food hampers included a chicken, peas, potatoes, icecream, jelly, tinned fruit, a steam pudding, custard and ice cream and other treats like lollies and fizzy drinks.
“They are pretty substantial and enough to last for a few days.”
The Oceana Goldmine and a number of groups and Trusts also gave generous donations which made a big difference, Wendy says.
OceanaGold senior community advisor Kit Wilson says it was pleased to assist.
“We know that there are families in our community that struggle at this time of the year, and we know that the Salvation Army and similar organisations do a fantastic job in providing much needed help and support.
“We have been providing assistance to the Salvation Army and other community groups at Christmas for a number of years, and we are pleased to be able to continue to be part of their valuable work.”
Meanwhile Sam Bakker from the Waihi Leader says this newspaper has been a proud supporter of the Salvation Army Christmas Collection for many years.
This year the event had also been given a new twist by incorporating the Christmas Collection with the Waihi Community Christmas event on Wednesday December 19.
A community-focused event, Waihi Community Christmas is a retailer-driven promotion which plans to return the magic to Waihi’s main shopping district by involving various community groups in attempt to ‘give a little back’ to the many agencies who work tirelessly to support Waihi.
This includes the Salvation Army and Bluelight Waihi, she says.
A feature would be the Waihi Community Giving Tree that will be centrally located, to create an easy drop-off point for donated non-perishable food items and family gift items.
The collection will primarily take place on the night December 19 although Salvation Army is accepting donations before.
People are being encouraged to start a Reverse Advent Calendar approach this year, she says.
The concept involves collecting one simple item each day from now until December 19.
It could be a pantry staple, Christmas treat or unwrapped gift item, or gift wrap /card for example.
Pop on over to the Waihi Community Christmas Facebook page and join the events for further information and to keep up to date.
Salvation Army Waihi Corps Major Wendy Sanson hopes the cupboards will start to fill up soon as it prepares to make up Christmas food hampers and gifts for those in need.