Christmas spirit alive and well

00:00, Dec 24 2012
Halyn Riley
FUN TIME: Halyn Riley, 2, and Kosha Riley, 4, thank Salvation Army Major Jill Knight for the donation of food and presents to the Stoke family, made possible by the generosity of Nelson people through the Nelson Mail and other businesses.

A challenging year for one Stoke family has ended on a bright note, with Christmas presents and food donated by Nelsonians just in time for the big day.

The Salvation Army made its annual Christmas delivery of donated Christmas gifts to 1050 children in Nelson and Motueka on Saturday.

It has also given 215 Christmas hampers to deserving families.

Many of the presents were toys left under the Christmas tree at the Nelson Mail.

Brother and sister Halyn and Kosha Riley were thrilled with their Christmas gifts.

Kosha, 4, said he hoped there would be Spider Man or Ben 10 toys for him to play with on Christmas Day.


Halyn, 2, wanted some Dora the Explorer toys.

But both thought the gift parcels were "really cool".

Mother Jodie Walker said her family had been plagued with serious health problems all year, and the donation of Christmas goodies made a huge difference.

"This is a huge big deal. We have had a really rough time of late and Jill has just been amazing in supporting us on a broad spectrum.

"The support that's been available to us, it's phenomenal."

A highlight from the hamper for Ms Walker was a packet of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, which she said she had not had for five years.

Salvation Army Major Jill Knight said Nelson had exceeded her expectations in terms of donations.

"This is the most generous that I have seen."

She said they'd also received more than $12,000 in Christmas donations, including a $10,000 cheque from a Nelson person.

Donated presents had been high-quality, and those receiving them had been blown away, she said.

It was satisfying to see the joy the donations brought.

"It's the craziest month and I have worked some stupid hours this week but I love it because it's making a difference in these people's lives."

The Nelson Mail