Diane Robertson: Thank you Christmas angels

By Diane Robertson, Auckland City Missioner

The Auckland City Mission would like to extend its sincere thanks to everyone who helped support so many Aucklanders throughout the festive season.

There have been many reports in the media highlighting the queues of people seeking services from the Mission. Throughout December the Mission provided over 2500 emergency food parcels to families in desperate need and ensured 5000 children who may otherwise have gone without, received a Christmas present. Over 2500 people attended our Christmas lunch at the Viaduct Events Centre whilst the rest of the Mission's services continued to run as usual, throughout this extremely busy time.

We simply could not have achieved any of this without the help of our wonderful supporters.  Once again, the people of Auckland, and beyond, showed fantastic generosity in helping us reach our fundraising target of $900,000. Every cent we receive not only helps us meet the increase in demand over Christmas, but also ensures that our services are sufficiently funded throughout the year ahead.

In addition, during December the Mission received over $800,000 worth of food and many thousands of Christmas presents from individuals and local businesses alike.  Hundreds of people battled the crowds to drop off donations at our doors, whilst our team of drivers completed 425 pick-ups in just 3 weeks, an increase of 38% compared to last year.

The increased demand for our services over Christmas puts great pressure on our resources and these very thoughtful contributions go a long way to alleviating these stresses.

Our dedicated team of staff work tirelessly throughout this time to meet the needs of everyone who, with no-one else to turn to; look to the Mission for help. However, we simply could not do our jobs without the wonderful support of so many volunteers. In December we were assisted in our work by 1248 people who provided nearly 5000 hours of volunteer time. Christmas day alone saw 550 volunteers come together to host New Zealand's largest community Christmas Lunch.

Christmas may be over, but the need for our help does not stop there. Our homeless, crisis care, social detox, medical and food distribution services will continue to provide assistance to Aucklanders in desperate need throughout the year ahead. We can only meet this demand with the continued support of our donors.

Every year we ask Aucklanders to 'Become Someone's Angel' and every year they step up when we need them the most. We do not take their efforts for granted and are sincerely grateful for all the support we receive, both at Christmas and throughout the rest of the year; Auckland truly is a city of Angels.

Diane Robertson,  Auckland City Missioner

- The Aucklander

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