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Together on a Mission this Christmas

Together on a Mission this Christmas

The Auckland City Mission today announced the launch of its Christmas Appeal 2004, counting down the 24 days to Christmas. The Christmas Appeal has a target of $600,000, making it the largest single fund-raising appeal of its type in New Zealand. It will consist of TV and radio spots, posters and mail-drops and is dedicated to raising greater awareness of New Zealand’s current social situation, with a particular focus on children living in poverty.

“Poverty is not confined to the developing world. Poverty is here and it is real. As families face the daily battle to survive, it is the children who are on the front line,” says Mrs. Diane Robertson, Auckland City Missioner. “Therefore, we are on a Mission: to bring every Auckland child a Christmas.”

298,000 children in New Zealand are living in poverty, over a third of them in Auckland. Poverty is a tragedy for the child concerned and for society in general, as the child is unable to develop to his or her full potential as a contributing citizen. A poor child is more likely to be sick and malnourished, changes schools often as well as enduring life in noisy, often damp and cold, stressful conditions.

“Families living in garages, repeat admissions to hospital with preventable diseases, lack of warm clothing and inadequate diet is the harsh reality for one in three children in New Zealand at the start of the twenty first century,” explains Mrs. Robertson.

“New Zealand also has one of the highest levels of economic disparity of any developed nation. Our mission is therefore more justified: we are here to help and our Christmas Appeal is focused on bringing hope and joy to every Auckland child, to give them more than a dream but a real Christmas.”

Although the poverty problem is large and complex, there is something that every Aucklander can do: to embrace his or her own mission to bring Christmas to every Auckland child. And Auckland City Mission is looking for these individuals: Aucklanders to help Aucklanders.

Throughout December there will be opportunities to support the Auckland City Mission. Aucklanders can look out for the Christmas Appeal envelope in their letter box and return it with their donation. They can also call 0900 4 AUCKLANDERS and make a donation of $20 instantly, check The Auckland City Mission’s web site (www.aucklandcitymission.org.nz) or simply come to City Mission at 140 Hobson Street.

“December is the busiest time of year at the Auckland City Mission and our resources are stretched to the limit,” elucidates Mrs. Robertson. “We will distribute over 20,000 presents to children who would otherwise miss out at Christmas, over 700 food parcels during December to families who don’t have sufficient food and hundreds of items of clothing, furniture and basic household items to struggling families. We could not do this without the support of every Aucklander and companies such as Borders Bookstores who are offering a gift wrapping service to customers in return for a gold coin donation to the Appeal and are matching book donations; participating Post Shops and Libraries, together with Manurewa and Papakura KFC stores, who are acting as gift donation points for the Appeal. The Christmas Tree Company (www.tctc.co.nz) is donating $5 to the Appeal for each tree sold. These are great examples of Auckland companies helping Aucklanders. Countless community groups and local schools across Auckland are working on their own missions to support the Appeal with fundraising activities and donations - the community response to child poverty.

“We will also launch our Street Collection in the Central City and Newmarket on December 8, so we ask everyone to give as much as they can.

“I believe the culmination of the Christmas Appeal is New Zealand’s largest Christmas Dinner. Over 1,200 guests join the Auckland City Mission at the Town Hall for a traditional Christmas. So every single $20 donation will pay for a child living in poverty to have Christmas Dinner.”

“Together we are on a mission to give every Auckland child a Christmas,” concludes Mrs. Robertson.

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, and a residential service for those living with HIV and AIDS. The Auckland City Mission's Food-Link programme also distributes food to over 75 other community support organizations from Mercer to Cape Reinga.

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