Ian suggests several causes and charities in New Zealand that could benefit from community support this Christmas. Food banks and toy drop-offs are valuable resources for those in need. He encourages those who are able, to consider buying extra essentials like food or nappies to donate. Volunteering at food kitchens and engaging in conversations with those they serve, is also a great way to show support.
Kiwis can give back this Christmas in several ways, some of which are listed below:
- Contribute to the Christmas Joy Store run by The Kindness Collective: this initiative allows parents and caregivers in need to shop for free Christmas presents and food for their children
- Donate to local city missions: these organisations help those in need enjoy a special Christmas. Donations can be money, food or gifts. Here are a few: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
- Support Ronald McDonald House Annual Christmas Appeal: your contribution helps families with children in hospital enjoy Christmas together by covering accommodation costs and meals
- Assist Everybody Eats: a charity that serves pay-as-you-feel food that would otherwise be wasted. You can help by making a donation, giving gift cards, or signing up to volunteer at one of their dinners
- Donate a Christmas Box: this feeds a family in need for just $40. Christmas Box aims to pack 45,000 boxes this year to give hope to those who need it most
- Join the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal: there are several options for your Gift of Hope, including donating a food parcel or a gift under the tree to offer stability to families in need. If you have a neighbour, workmate, friend, or know of someone who is alone on Christmas, invite them to share a meal with you and your loved ones
- There are a number of community events that happen over the Christmas period that rely on the generosity of volunteers. Check out what’s happening in your local community to see how you could donate your time to help others.
In terms of his own plans this Christmas, Ian is hosting a festive meal at Eddie’s Meals, donating toys to the Kindness Collective’s Christmas Joy Store through AIA NZ, and spending time with the Salvation Army in Glenfield.
Ian encourages everyone to embrace the spirit of giving, not only during Christmas but throughout the year. Taking the first step might be hard, but in doing so, people will find a supportive and welcoming community that will enrich their lives, regardless of the month or season. Ian encourages families to set an example for their children, fostering a culture of giving that will be passed down through generations.
While not everyone has resources to give, lots of people can offer their time, which Ian considers to be the greatest gift. Small gestures like saying hello, buying somebody a bite to eat, or just taking the time to chat, can make a significant difference. Volunteering doesn’t have to involve money or resources, just time and a willingness to connect with others.
This Christmas, consider making a contribution to your local city mission, donate a Christmas Box to feed a family in need, or volunteer your time serving food at your local food kitchen. In doing so, you will not only providing tangible help to those in need but also fostering a sense of community and enhancing your own mental health. After all, the true spirit of Christmas lies in giving and sharing love with those around us.