Auckland City Mission Provides NZ’s Biggest Christmas Lunch
Auckland City Mission Getting Ready for NZ’s Biggest Christmas Lunch
Christmas is only a few days away, but at the Auckland City Mission, staff and volunteers have been preparing to put on New Zealand’s biggest Christmas lunch for several months.
In addition to the hundreds of hours already contributed by volunteers to plan and organise the special event, a further 500 volunteers will help to host Christmas lunch for 2,000 guests.
On the menu are 300kg of ham, 2,000 chicken drumsticks, and 300kg of potatoes, while jelly and ice cream will be a welcome treat for dessert. It’s a massive event, but it means a great deal to Aucklanders living in desperate poverty – and for most of the guests, it’s their only joyful experience in an otherwise stressful and difficult holiday season.
“The people who come to Christmas lunch at the Mission bring with them myriad stories of trauma and sadness,” says City Missioner Chris Farrelly. “They may be homeless or living in poverty and unable to afford to have their Christmas meal at home. They may be elderly or alone and have nowhere else to go. Or they may be estranged from their families. Whatever their circumstances, the Mission welcomes them on Christmas Day to share a meal and company.”
Single mum Tina intends to bring her two children with her to the Christmas lunch. She’s recently moved to Auckland from the South Island, as her youngest daughter has medical issues that mean she requires regular specialist treatment at Starship Children’s Hospital.
“I don’t have any family in Auckland, and because my daughter has high medical needs, I can’t work,” Tina says. “I was going to spend Christmas alone with my kids, and then I heard about the lunch the Mission puts on. I’m glad I have a place to go because this Christmas is really hard for us.”
The Mission’s Christmas lunch will be held at the ANZ Viaduct Events Centre, and doors open at 11.30am on Christmas Day. Entertainment is provided until lunch is served at 12.30pm, and every guest will receive a gift before going home.
This Christmas is Mr Farrelly’s second at the Mission, and he says that Christmas is their busiest time of the year. “The Mission has been distributing modest food parcels and children’s gifts to almost 4,000 desperate families over the past three weeks,” he says. “We’ve also given 8,000 gifts out, so that every child has a present to open on Christmas morning.”
Mr Farrelly is grateful to the Auckland community for their generosity this Christmas. “Your help makes Christmas possible for thousands of families, particularly children, who live in desperate poverty. Your donations make a significant difference to people who are struggling.”
It’s not too late to make a financial donation toward the Mission’s work, both at Christmas and into 2018. Next year they expect to give out 13,000 emergency food parcels and continue to be there for Aucklanders in desperate need.
Over 80% of the Mission’s services are funded through donations, and year-round, they provide low-cost healthcare, drug and alcohol services, outreach support for rough sleepers and isolated elderly people, an activities programme and community centre for central Auckland’s homeless population, and a Crisis Care service for low-income individuals and families.
Donations can be made at aucklandcitymission.org.nz or by calling the Mission on 09 303 9200.
THE AUCKLAND CITY MISSION CHRISTMAS DAY LUNCH
Friday, 22 December
8am Viaduct Events Centre
Pack in begins
Sunday, 24 December 2017
8am Viaduct Events Centre
8am Dessert kitchen volunteers arrive
Meat/vegetables kitchen volunteers arrive
10am Extra kitchen/clean-up volunteers arrive
10:30am Preparation of all food completed and finalised by 12 noon
Monday, 25 December 2016
6am – 2.30pm Viaduct Events Centre
6am Cooking begins
7am Tables and venue decorated by volunteers
10:30am Remaining volunteers arrive
11.30am Doors open
11.30 – 12.30pm Entertainment
12.30pm Christmas lunch served
11:15pm First course completed
11:15pm Dessert served
1.30pm Santa Claus arrives & presents distributed
Cake handed out
CHRISTMAS LUNCH MENU
Chicken drumsticks: 2,000
Gourmet potatoes: 300kg
Roast kumara: 240kg
Salad – mesclun lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber
Ice-cream: 380 litres
Fruit: 100 litres
Jelly: 150 litres
Christmas cake 2500 slices
Table cloths: 200
Presents on the day: 2500
Lollies: 2000 bags
Chocolate: 2500 bars
Drinks: 4500 bottles