Last chance to help
Christmas is only 13 sleeps away.
The halls are being decked with holly, bells are jingling everywhere and the man in the red suit is on his way.
That means the chance to donate gifts to the Eastern Courier/Salvation Army Christmas Appeal is running out and days to register for help are numbered.
Debbie Gibson and Yasmin Kermode are two Christmas elves at the centre of the appeal which they say would be impossible without the overwhelming support from the community.
Mrs Kermode has spent more than 20 years involved with the Salvation Army in New Zealand and Britain.
"We have had a great response this year which makes our job a lot easier," she says.
"There is a lot of bad press surrounding Christmas appeals. People get accused of double-dipping and pulling up in their flash cars to ask for help but we see who comes in and we see first-hand just how needy they are.
"Recipients are grateful and embarrassed they've had to ask for help but they shouldn't be.
"It's not for us to judge why they need it or how they got into that situation," she says.
Mrs Gibson says she is motivated to help with the Christmas appeal by her faith.
"The reason I do it is to practise what I preach.
"That is the essence of why we do virtually everything we do," she says.
Mrs Kermode says the most rewarding thing about helping with the appeal is seeing the look on recipients' faces.
"Some people would have a very sad, lonely Christmas without this helping hand. There's a need for it," she says.
Friday is the last day to enrol for support from the Salvation Army.
Red wheelie bins will be removed from their spots around the community next Monday.
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.
Donations of money can be made to the Salvation Army on Wellington St.