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City Mission Needs to Raise $1.3 Million This Christmas

MEDIA RELEASE: AUCKLAND CITY MISSION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 6 DECEMBER 2017

CITY MISSION NEEDS TO RAISE $1.3 MILLION THIS CHRISTMAS

The Auckland City Mission needs to raise $1.3 million this Christmas in order to provide food parcels, medical care, advice, and other essential services that many Aucklanders need now and into 2018.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, thousands of Aucklanders in need will line up outside the Mission’s Drop-in Centre on Hobson Street. City Missioner Chris Farrelly says many of the 4,000 people who visit the Mission at this time of year are women raising children on their own.

“Christmas is a difficult time of year for vulnerable Aucklanders, especially low-income families,” says Mr Farrelly. “Unfortunately, we see a high number of women with children coming to us for emergency food parcels, particularly at this time of the year.”

This year marks Mr Farrelly’s second Christmas at the Mission. “What the Mission sees is that food is a discretionary item and that, sadly, the need for nutritious food is growing,” he says.

“We end this year deeply disturbed and saddened that so many of our fellow New Zealanders do not have the basic right of access to a sufficient quantity of nutritious food and an affordable home.”

“I am concerned by the fact that many families have to choose between paying a bill and providing food for their children (and themselves). It’s usually money that is budgeted for food that gets spent elsewhere,” he says. “This food insecurity has ongoing implications in all aspects of people’s lives, such as leading to poor health outcomes and reduced educational opportunities.”

“As we approach Christmas, we again reach out to ask our fellow Aucklanders to join us and assist us to bring some joy and hope into the lives of families who desperately need help.”

The Mission is expecting to give 150 families each day over the next three weeks a modest food parcel, one Christmas gift for each of their children, and access to a Work and Income special needs grant to help them get through Christmas. “The gift is likely to be the only Christmas present that these children will receive this year,” says Mr Farrelly. “That is a huge indication of how sad and humbled many of our Auckland families are. People come here and they have to line up outside the Mission, in full view of public people on their way to work in the city, just to receive food and one Christmas present for their children.” Mr Farrelly says that while the Mission’s goal is to assist families in a meaningful way – to offer food and Christmas presents – they also offer deeper support with issues such as debt, health problems, 2

housing, and addiction. He is asking every Aucklander to “Be Someone’s Angel” and donate funds to the Mission’s Christmas Appeal in order to support these core social services.

“If everyone in Auckland donated just $1 to the Mission right now, we would meet our fundraising target, setting us up to provide help and support over Christmas and well into 2018 for the most desperate in our community.”

Mr Farrelly says despite the outlook for many Auckland families in the lead-up to Christmas, he is deeply grateful for the care, generosity, and compassion of thousands of people who enable the Mission to care for those who need the Mission’s help.

“Personally, I have a great sense of hope as I witness our community responding at many levels, and I would like to thank the wider Auckland community for their part in this.”

As part of this response, in 2018 the Mission will embark on a project that will contribute to ending chronic homelessness in New Zealand.

The Mission’s annual Christmas appeal starts today, Wednesday 6 December.

80 per cent of the Mission’s operating costs are funded by donations.

The Mission needs your help to provide 8,000 children with Christmas presents this Christmas.

Last year the Mission distributed almost 13,000 emergency food parcels to individuals and families in need.

Please donate to the Mission’s Christmas Appeal today at www.aucklandcitymission.org.nz.

ENDS

This Christmas, with your help, the Mission will:

• Provide over 4,000 Christmas emergency food parcels, enabling families to celebrate Christmas at home;

• Distribute 8,000 presents to Auckland children who would otherwise not receive a Christmas present, including through other community organisations;

• Host 2,000 guests at our Christmas Lunch; and

• Continue to be there every day for Aucklanders in desperate need.


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