Charities cry out for donated gifts
Anyone dreading a lump of coal in their stocking this year still has plenty of time to turn some of this year's naughty into nice.
In the busy 21st century, it can be easy to focus on your own needs. With rents rising and the cost of living hitting pockets hard, post-quake Canterbury is home to a lot of families whose Christmas will not be as merry as it could be.
It is the perfect time to give back to the community. Charities are crying out for donated Christmas presents and food parcels to get families through the holidays.
While most organisations have their army of volunteers lined up for Christmas Day meals, many are still in need of presents for children. Christchurch City Mission and the Salvation Army are calling for gifts for children of all ages.
While second-hand gifts are accepted, new toys and books for children are always appreciated.
The City Mission Christmas Appeal tree is set up at Riccarton House for gifts to be placed under.
Food is a priority for families over the holidays. Some will go without a fancy meal and others will visit the City Mission.
The mission has a wish-list for food items for its Christmas lunch, which caters to 700 people: hams, legs of lamb, pasta, mayonnaise, pavlovas, Christmas mince tarts and icecream.
Salvation Army team leader Jocelyn Smith said that, while volunteering had been organised, the biggest way to give back this Christmas was to think of others around you.
"A lot of the stress and pressure comes from loneliness at this time of year," she said. "The expectation to spend the holidays with family is huge and for some people that's unable to happen."
Smith advised people to look out for neighbours and the elderly who may be alone, particularly those who had just experienced a bereavement and felt particularly alone.
Inviting someone for a meal or a cup of tea, or just checking in on them over the break, would often do wonders.
The Salvation Army is also looking for long-term volunteers who can help in the community weeding gardens, visiting the elderly and work on special projects.
Community ministries manager Shar Davis said Cantabrians were usually generous with volunteering.
"It's the whole pay-it-forward thing," she said. "People in Christchurch are thankful for what they've got and are aware that others don't have so much."
GIVE A LITTLE
Christchurch City Mission: Donations to 275 Hereford St 8.30am-5pm weekdays
Appeal tree at Riccarton House, 11am to 3pm daily
Salvation Army: Donations can be dropped at any Salvation Army store or outlet
Barnardos: Grocery vouchers can be dropped at 19 Weston Rd
- © Fairfax NZ News
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