Christmas generosity lives on

By Anne-Marie Emerson

A long-standing Wanganui tradition of Christmas generosity continues this year with the Birthright Wanganui present drive.

Barbara Young from Birthright said she was amazed by the number of presents given to Birthright by local businesses, organisations and individuals.

This year, Birthright received presents from Trinity Church, Her Fitness, The Men's Shed, Rotary South, Lions Club, River City Quilters, as well as many anonymous donations.

Around 160 bags of presents are usually collected by Birthright to give out to disadvantaged Wanganui families at Christmas.

"I've just about been moved to tears by the generosity of Wanganui people," Mrs Young said.

Mrs Young said Birthright was an organisation that helped single-parent families, many of whom received benefit. "Christmas can be very stressful for these families.

"It's really hard with the amount of advertising that kids are subjected to.

They want this and they want that, and many of our parents can't afford these things.

"For many of the children from the families we help, these will be their only presents," she said.

The Wanganui Chronicle is one of the local businesses that regularly gets behind the present drive.

Manager of newspaper sales and marketing Louisa Hewitt said for many years the Chronicle had put a Christmas tree in its foyer for people to leave presents under. These presents are then passed on to Birthright.

"It's just incredible what some people bring in. One lady brought in this huge pile of hand-knitted toys - she must have spent most of the year making them," Mrs Hewitt said.

"It's just wonderful to see people spreading around some Christmas cheer."

She said presents should be suitable for children aged 0-13 years and should preferably be unwrapped.

The last day to donate presents is tomorrow.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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