Marlborough Salvation Army steers clear of secondhand Christmas presents
The Salvation Army is taking donations of unwrapped gifts for families in need this Christmas - but they'd rather they weren't second hand.
Blenheim Salvation Army community ministries co-ordinator Bridget Lauder said every child deserved a new toy on Christmas Day.
"Just because someone isn't coping and can't provide Christmas gifts doesn't mean they should get leftovers," she said.
"If we're buying new toys for our own children, then shouldn't we provide them with the same thing?
"We should all be treated equally regardless of socio-economic status."
Blenheim Salvation Army pastor Deane Goldsack said secondhand gifts would not be turned away, but it was possible that they could be sold at the Salvation Army Family Store.
All profits from the store were reinvested back into community, Goldsack said.
People often had the best intentions when they donated secondhand toys, he said.
"What we ask people to think about is, if they were on the receiving end, how would they feel about giving a secondhand gift to their child?"
Goldsack said on Wednesday donations to the charity's annual toy appeal were far behind last year's total, with only three working days until the presents would be wrapped and prepared for families.
The Salvation Army had received about 20 banana boxes of toys, books, puzzles and games to give to families in need on Christmas.
At the same time last year, the organisation had received more than 100 banana boxes of presents.
Goldsack said he was unsure what they would do to make up the gift shortfall.
"We'll have to wing it, I suppose. What we can give to each family will be less."
More than 120 Marlborough children were registered to receive presents through the appeal. More families were expected to sign up over the following week, Goldsack said.
It was hoped the annual Marlborough Branch Ulysses toy run from Renwick to Blenheim would provide a boost to the toy appeal.
Providing help to families through the Christmas toy appeal fitted in with the biblical message of taking care of the marginalised, Goldsack said.
"At a basic human level, you want to see every child get something at Christmas and see the joy on their face.
"That's not a Christian thing, that's a human thing."
Glenys Parsons, of Wairau Valley, had been donating gifts to the Salvation Army Christmas toy appeal for the past 10 years.
Her son and daughter helped her to select presents to donate when they lived at home.
She would buy gifts throughout the year to donate during the festive season.
Parsons said she was happy to continue on the Christmas tradition, although her children now lived in Wellington and Alaska.
"There's a lot of people out there who struggle at Christmas.
"I'm a family person and I don't like to see kids go without."
* How to Help: Drop off new, unwrapped toys to the Salvation Army Family Store on Scott St or Columbus Coffee at Mitre 10 Mega on Alabama Rd. Donations of wrapping paper are also accepted. The last day for donations is Tuesday, December 15.
GIFTS FOR UNDER $20
Knucklebones game $4
Children's garden tool set $6
Play-Doh Fun Factory $9
Beach play set $15
Where the Wild Things Are book $18.99
Star Wars LEGO Vulture Droid $17.99
Frozen Sing-A-Long DVD $19.99
- The Marlborough Express