Cheer for needy families

By Phoebe Falconer

Santa's helpers have been busy in Auckland.

Salvation Army staff and volunteers have collected, wrapped and distributed more than 30,000 gifts for needy children in the region. As well, they have made up between 7000 and 8000 food hampers to go to homes that otherwise would have a poor time of it.

And it takes two to three weeks to get around all the houses.

"We're not like Santa Claus," said Gerry Walker, divisional director of community ministry for the northern region. "We can't get around everyone in one night."

The gifts are a combination of donated goods and toys bought from cash received by the Salvation Army.

The recipients are drawn from referrals from social agencies and names acquired by the Salvation Army during community work.

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