The toy collection box at Manurewa library is filling up faster than Santa’s sack.
It had been there for less than a week and it was brimming with toys ready to be donated to needy families across Manukau.
It’s one of the official collection boxes for the Manukau Courier and Salvation Army Christmas Appeal, which seeks donations of new toys to be distributed to families and community agencies that work closely with the Salvation Army.
Manurewa library has been on board with the appeal since it started, says children’s librarian Michelle Appleton, who’s worked there for more than 20 years.
"The Manurewa community is a large community in itself with a large cross-section of people in it who support the appeal so well," she says.
"They do give very generously every year."
And each year library patrons are donating more and more.
"Obviously the need has grown – the Salvation Army is asking for more and Manurewa people respond really well."
Once the appeal is fully under way the library has to ring the Salvation Army to empty its donation box more than once a week, she says.
"Manurewa is just a good community that’s aware of the need that’s out there.
"I lived in the area for many years and everyone is just aware of each other and ready to help."
People are actually going out of their way and buying new toys specifically for the appeal, she says.
"If you are a family in need it would be so nice to get a nice new toy to give to the kids in your family."
Ms Appleton says the library gets a large range of users and some of the children that come in could be kids who’ll be receiving gifts this year, thanks to the Salvation Army and the Manukau Courier.
"It’s a heart-warming thought that children who might not get much or anything at Christmas time can look forward to something under the tree. The thing about Christmas is that the celebration is about families – you notice it when you have a family, how enjoyable Christmas is.
"And I think it’s noticeably worse when you’re a family that’s struggling at Christmas time."
Salvation Army service manager Ross Richards says Manurewa Library collects the greatest number of toys of all of the Manukau libraries.
"Every year they are so supportive and enthusiastic," he says.
"They ring us often to say they are just overloading with toys."
And their Christmas spirit has spin-offs, he says.
"We find it encourages us as well. Their enthusiasm rubs off and it must rub off on the people that come into the library too."
Most people who come into the Salvation Army’s Manukau office to seek help are from Manurewa and it is also the most generous suburb, he says.
"The Salvation Army would like to give Manurewa library a big thanks – we couldn’t do it without them or any of the other libraries."
Collection points for the Christmas Appeal are Manukau city libraries in Clendon, Papatoetoe, Manurewa, Otara, Tupu-Dawson Rd, Manukau city centre, Mangere Bridge and Mangere East.
Otahuhu library and the Sir Edmund Hillary library in Papakura are also collection points, as are the Salvation Army office in Bakerfield Place, Manukau, the Manukau Courier reception at 33 Birmingham Rd, East Tamaki, and Manukau mayor Len Brown’s office in the Manukau City Council building on Wiri Station Rd, Manukau.
Cash donations can also be given or posted to the Manukau Courier, PO Box 76-400, Manukau. Cheques should be made payable to the Salvation Army.
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