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Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal

6 December 2004

Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal, coming to a street near you

The official Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal Street Collection will take place on Wednesday 8 December, with collectors stationed throughout the Central City and Newmarket from 7.30am to 9am, and again from 12noon to 2pm.

This year the Auckland City Mission is delighted to announce the support of three high profile celebrities: Former All Black legend Ian Jones, former Shortland Street & Celebrity Treasure Island winner Greer Robson, and Coca Cola RTR Countdown host Erika Takacs, who are lending their support to the Street Collection.

“Christmas is a time of year when the spirit of giving is paramount and there is nothing more enriching than giving to those who are truly in need. The Auckland City Mission enables Aucklanders to give to Aucklanders less fortunate than themselves and to make their Christmas season a little brighter." says Greer Robson.

“I feel privileged to have the lifestyle & family that I have, and it's an honour to be able to give of my time to return something to those less fortunate.” says Ian Jones.

“The Street Collection is an excellent way for the community to support the Mission’s work at Christmas,” says Mrs. Diane Robertson, Auckland City Missioner.

“This is a great example of our motto – Aucklanders helping Aucklanders - being demonstrated in a very practical way. Whether you are a collector or a celebrity giving up your time to help us, or the person who drops a dollar in the bucket, you are all contributing with your own personal missions – to bring Christmas to every Auckland child.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support from Aucklanders: this year sees the largest number of volunteers ever supporting the Collection, demonstrating a real willingness by Aucklanders to help their fellow Aucklanders. We have collectors from every walk of life and from young people to seniors. It is so encouraging to see the depth of support for our Christmas Appeal and the work of the Auckland City Mission” remarks Mrs. Robertson

The Street Appeal’s target is $10,000 for the day. This is an ambitious target and one that can’t be reached without the help of every Aucklander. $10,000 translates into over 140 emergency food parcels for a family of four living in poverty. Food poverty is a reality for many Aucklanders and effects women and children disproportionately. Without the Emergency Food Programme offered by the Auckland City Mission, hundreds of Auckland families would go without basic food items. Food that many of us take for granted are unobtainable luxuries for families battling to make ends meet. Many families are only able to afford to spend $11 per child per week for food, compared to an average spend on basic food items per child per week of $36.50. This figure almost doubles for teenage children.

Christmas magnifies the issue of food poverty. Images of seasonal festivities draw stark contrast with the everyday realities for many families living in poverty. Poor diet and the resultant health problems are just one of many issues facing the estimated 100,000 children living in poverty in Auckland.

“Every donation, big or small, will help us bring joy and practical support to the thousands of Auckland children affected by poverty this Christmas. We are on a mission to bring Christmas to every Auckland child”, concludes Mrs. Robertson.

More

This will be the fourth Auckland City Mission Christmas Appeal Street Collection; Total income from the Street Appeals to date is approximately $30,000, each typically contributes around 1.5% to 2% of total Appeal income.

Greer Robson began acting when she was 2 years old in commercials and graduated to film roles, starring in 'Smash Palace' with Bruno Lawrence when she was 9. Other film roles included 'The Scarecrow', 'Queen City Rockers' and 'Starlight Hotel'. She has also acted in leading roles in a number of TV series, including playing nurse Joanna Jordan in Shortland Street.

After leaving the series and traveling around the world for a year, Greer returned to New Zealand and completed an LLB (Hons)/BA (English major) at Auckland University. She worked in the law profession in Auckland and Sydney for the next five years. Greer’s most recent television appearance was last year on Celebrity Treasure Island, which she won after weeks of starvation and difficult physical and mental endurance challenges! Greer recently returned to New Zealand to pursue her acting career and has also started a company designing jewellery.

Erika Takacs Host of Coca Cola RTR Countdown Erika made her mark when she was selected as one of the successful members of True Bliss in the TV2 series, Popstars. Born in Wellington, she undertook six years of classical training with Sister Mary Winifred at St Mary's College. "I wanted to learn to use my voice properly and not ruin it," she explains. Educated at St Anthony's, Seatoun; Marist Holy Cross, Mirimar and St Catherine's College, Takacs also completed a Music and Theatre Certificate Course at Wellington Performing Arts School.

While holding down jobs as nanny, waitress and shoe store assistant, she was singing, dancing and acting in a number of productions, including the role of Leisl in The Sound of Music and Maria in West Side Story. Takacs has also appeared in the Toyota "Everyday People" commercial before making her debut in Popstars followed by her regular Coca Cola RTR Countdown show.

Long and lanky, Ian Jones overcame constant carping, especially in his early years, about his perceived lack of bulk to become one of New Zealand rugby's greatest ever locks. When he left the New Zealand game in 1999 to finish out his playing days with a lucrative English contract with Gloucester. He had 79 tests to his credit, second only to Sean Fitzpatrick's 92. Ian was a product of Northland and was forever known by the nickname, "Kamo" after the Whangarei suburb in which he grew up. His first cap for the All Blacks was at Dunedin's Carisbrook against Scotland in 1990, where he scored a try on debut. From 1990 through to 1997, other than the odd glitch, Ian was an automatic selection. From 1992 he and Robin Brooke formed one of the most enduring locking partnerships in international rugby.

They were an ideal complement with one commanding the front of lineouts and the other the middle. While Robin was a hardnosed grinder, Ian had the ball skills in the open. In the Super 12 Ian made 38 appearances, often as captain, for the Chiefs between 1996 and 1999. Ian returned to New Zealand in 2002 after his stint in English rugby and into the limelight as a perceptive comments man for Sky Television. Ian currently hosts the Toyota Grassroots Rugby programme on Sky Television.

About Auckland City Mission The Auckland City Mission has been working with marginalised people for over 80 years. Services include an inner-city drop-in centre, crisis care and emergency relief, an emergency food programme, drug and alcohol services, housing support, a residential service for those living with HIV and AIDS and a therapy programme for traumatised children. The Auckland City Mission's Foodlink programme also distributes food to over 75 other community support organizations from Mercer to Cape Reinga.

ENDS


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