Dad hits hard times
Father of three Chris Clark used to be a technical designer for Fletcher Aluminium.
There was good money coming in and things were going "beautifully".
But an unfortunate and unexpected series of events meant Mr Clark "came into the depths of badness" and was left on the "bare bones of his bum".
"My mother died of ongoing medical complications, my dad died of leukaemia and my brother killed himself all in a short space of time," Mr Clark says.
"I lost all my life savings through a financial investment that went wrong.
"Then I was made redundant and to top it all off I went semi-blind and now can't work."
Doctors believe Mr Clark's loss of site is stress-related.
"Considering the circumstances they're probably right," he says.
Mr Clark says he struggles with being unable to provide for his family.
"To be quite honest, I'm so embarrassed.
"I'm supposed to be the breadwinner but I'm not doing it.
The Salvation Army has offered a great deal of support to Mr Clark and his family.
"I met some good people from the Salvation Army who helped us out with food, a lot of prayer, advice and support.
"We wouldn't be together if it wasn't for the Salvation Army.
"I can't stress that enough. If it wasn't for them we'd be absolutely stuffed.
"At Christmas we went down to the Salvation Army for a food parcel and came out with a white sack full of presents to put under the tree."
Mr Clark describes Christmas as "stressful".
"When you've got two sons and one girl who still believe in Santa and you've got to create Christmas and put food on the table but you're struggling to even keep up with the daily rent and power it becomes very difficult.
"From a man's point of view not being able to support the family brings a tear to your eye."
Mr Clark says there has been no judging or assumption from the Salvation Army.
"They welcomed us with open arms. They're always there for us," he says.
"Seeing the kids' eyes when they opened their presents on Christmas day was priceless."
Donations of toys, gifts and non-perishable Christmas food can be left in the red bins in Howick, Pakuranga and Botany libraries, Botany Town Centre, Pakuranga Shopping Centre, Botany and Howick Salvation Army stores, Countdown Meadowlands and at the Howick Salvation Army, on Wellington St. Presents should be new and unwrapped. Donations of money can be made to the Salvation Army on Wellington St.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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