By Melissa Coward
This year sees The Salvation Army East City reach a milestone of running its 25th Christmas Appeal – helping those in our community who are struggling to have a more enjoyable Christmas.
Our commitment over the years has not changed, our mission to create a brighter Christmas for families within our community still stands firm; to give them a Christmas where they are not having to worry about how they are going to put a meal on the table or whether their children will join the thousands of others unwrapping gifts on Christmas day.
Over the last 25 years we have seen a steady increase in the number of hampers distributed, last year The Salvation Army East City assisted 150 families within our local community. We are privileged to be able to witness the joy and often relief that we provide to families at such a stressful time of the year.
East City has not accomplished this alone, we live in a very generous community and are always grateful for the many businesses, schools and individuals who support our work, not only during Christmas, but throughout the year.
2019 was a challenging year for us with the Christmas Appeal. Donations of food and toys were much lower than previous years, which was most unexpected. It meant we had to purchase toys, empty our food bank and even purchase some food items to top up food parcels.
As we all know 2020 has been an extremely challenging year, we have seen a higher demand throughout the year for our food bank service, with many people experiencing unemployment (often for the first time in their lives).
Looking towards Christmas this is going be a daunting time for many families and individuals and we expect the need for our Christmas Hampers to be at an all-time high.
We do not want to get into a situation where we are turning anyone away.
So once again we call upon our community supports, through monetary donations, new gifts for children and teenagers, non-perishable and festive food items. As we head into November, our red Christmas appeal bins will be distributed throughout the community.
Look out for them in local libraries, shopping malls, and Salvation Army Family Stores.
With our partnership’s food can be donated at all Countdown Stores. The Kmart Christmas Wishing Tree will also be available for toy donations.
Donations can also be made at The Salvation Army East City located at 39-45 Wellington Street, Howick on Wednesdays to Fridays from 10.30am to 2pm or by contacting us 09 535 0847.
Alternatively, you can also support our car boot sales which we run every second Saturday at our Church hall. ‘Rent’ a stall or come and bag a bargain. Money raised through stall hire helps to support our Appeal (next dates November 14 & December 12).
We ask your help and joining us in making Christmas 2020 a very bright and blessed season for everyone needing our help within our local community.