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Auckland City Mission handing out Christmas emergency food

The Auckland City Mission is handing out Christmas emergency food parcels as fast as teams can pack them.

The City Mission started distributing the food parcels and gifts at three locations around the city a week ago – in that time more than 3000 food parcels have been distributed from Eden Park, Nga Whare Waatea Marae and and Papakura marae. That will provide meals for more than 12,600 people.

Around 75% of people in the queues are women, says City Missioner Chris Farrelly.

“Many of the women we meet are bringing up theirs and often other people’s children on their own, making huge sacrifices for the children,” Mr Farrelly continues, “these women carry the burden of poverty in New Zealand, disproportionately to anyone else.”

One of the women queuing at Eden Park last week was Stacey. She had a full time job in a Northland bakery but one of her children has been in Auckland’s Starship hospital for months. Caring for him meant she was unable to keep her job. The solo mother said she just had to put her pride aside this Christmas.

“Believe me, I’ve been embarrassed asking for help but I realise it’s not me missing out, it’s my babies.” Stacey says her advice to others in similar situations is to not be ashamed. “It’s ok to ask for help, it’s the time to be happy.”

Tony Kake, the CEO of Papakura Marae, says the feeling among the people queuing up at his marae is desperate and overwhelming. “It is clear to me that poverty for many is a serious concern. A concern, we as a nation need to rethink and in a hurry. Unless you’ve been there you will truly never know what it feels like to look your children in the eye and say time to go to sleep now, knowing they haven’t eaten all day.

School holidays are particularly hard as the support many schools provide in the form of breakfast and lunches will now be gone. “

Nick Sautner is the CEO of Eden Park. “Seeing some Kiwis line up at the Park since the early hours illustrates the importance of the City Mission and the role it plays in our society. It’s been pleasing to see Eden Park being utilised as a community asset to bring joy to families at what can be a challenging time of the year,” says Mr Sautner.

The CEO of the Manukau Urban Maori Authority Wyn Osborne says the Mission partnership with Nga Whare Waatea Marae is important.

“People like being part of a community and here in addition to the food parcels, they’re receiving another kind of food – the social contact that’s brought them together”

With just over a week to go until Christmas, the City Mission expects to assist up to another 20,000 people at its distribution centres by Friday, and the need for donations is critical because these funds help not only over Christmas but in the New Year when many people continue to struggle.

Chris Farrelly says “The Mission is deeply grateful for all the support we are receiving. Our Community is very generous”.

Currently the Mission has raised just $500,000 of the $1.5 million appeal target and is urging all Aucklanders to donate just a few dollars each to help a fellow Aucklander this Christmas. By this time last year more than $600,000.00 had been collected. Donations can be made ataucklandcitymission.org.nzby calling the Mission on 09 303 9200.

The Mission’s annual Christmas appeal is running until 14 January 2019.

© Scoop Media

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