Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Dad's pledge to spread Xmas cheer

Company commits 100 gifts to Salvation Army's annual Christmas present drive.

Ian Forrester of Plan.B with his children Murdoch, 2, and Imogen, 4. Photo / Chris Gorman
Ian Forrester of Plan.B with his children Murdoch, 2, and Imogen, 4. Photo / Chris Gorman

Christmas is meant to be a time of joy but many children around New Zealand go without. This year, one father has vowed to make a difference, pledging 100 gifts for young children who would otherwise miss out.

Ian Forrester said Herald coverage of charities expecting an influx of 40,000-plus families needing support this festive season "struck a nerve".

"Christmas is meant to be a happy time, and I look at my own two kids and Christmas is just the be-all and end-all for them.

"It's not even what the present is, but opening up the paper and the festivities and the fun.

"I would hate to think that there are a whole lot of kids out there the same as my kids who don't have the fun and excitement and joy."

Mr Forrester is managing director of Plan.B, a North Shore-based company that provides data protection and logistics for New Zealand businesses.

Owned by Mr Forrester, his wife Kate and their extended family, Plan.B has committed 100 gifts to the Salvation Army's annual Christmas present drive and is inviting its 500-plus clients and other firms to help make a difference.

"I have two young kids and many of my team in the office have young kids and we all too often forget or take for granted the life we might live as what we would deem to be everyday New Zealanders," Mr Forrester said.

"There is a lot of support for the devastation that is happening elsewhere in the world and we kind of forget that it is happening in our own backyard."

The Salvation Army expects that a third more New Zealand families will need its help this year compared to last, as lower-income households grapple to recover from the recession and adjust to rising living costs.

Mr Forrester consulted the Sallies and is going to provide presents for the age group that is the hardest to cater for - those aged 10 to 15.

He has approached businesses for gift ideas and is aiming for each gift to cost around $25.

Major Pam Waugh of the Salvation Army said Plan.B's generous offer served as a model for the community.

"We are really grateful for the contribution."

She said other businesses interested in joining the drive could contact their local Salvation Army office.

How to help this festive season

* Donate children's gifts to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal in stores from Friday until Christmas Eve.
* Take food for hampers to Salvation Army offices.
* Collect from friends, family and co-workers to donate.
* Purchase KidsCan Christmas Crackers from Countdown and Z Energy stores.

- NZ Herald

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