This Christmas, the Herald is featuring 12 charities which have been chosen to get a $10,000 grant from Auckland Airport, as part of its 12 Days of Christmas charity campaign. The $120,000 comes from generous travellers who donate money in globes throughout the airport.'

Even spare change can make a world of difference.

In this case, 12 charities are set to benefit from the generosity of the travelling public, with up to $120,000 being gifted to them this Christmas.

Auckland Airport's 12 Days of Christmas charity campaign has been running for 11 years and sees a dozen charities receiving $10,000 grants to help with their particular causes.

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The money is collected throughout the year via giant clear globes dotted around the domestic and international airport terminals.

By the end of the year, they are filled with change and different currencies from all around the world.

Auckland International Airport is donating $120,000 to 12 Kiwi charities in the 12 Days of Christmas project. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Auckland International Airport is donating $120,000 to 12 Kiwi charities in the 12 Days of Christmas project. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Operations general manager, Anna Cassels-Brown, said the globes enabled the airport to give a significant boost to Kiwi charities doing various good works for the community.

"In the past 10 years, that means we've given around $1.2 million to organisations who've benefited from the generosity of our customers.''

THIS YEAR'S WINNING CHARITIES:

This year's charities are all from Auckland: The NZ Epilepsy Assist Dogs Trust, the Mental Health Foundation of NZ, Brothers in Arms Charitable Trust, OKE Charity, The Touch Compass Dance Trust Board, Auckland SPCA, the Middlemore Foundation, Auckland Medical Research Foundation, Road Safety Education Ltd, Youthline Auckland, Who Did You Help Today? Mothers Project and the Sources of Unconditional Love Charitable Trust.

Cassels-Brown said among the causes the airport liked to support were those that put an emphasis on education, employment and the environment.

"We have a very difficult job of short-listing them to 12 and we prioritise those who are involved in education, employment or protecting the environment.

"We try and make sure that we're mindful that the money is available through the generosity of travellers. We try to imagine where they would like to see it distributed.

"We also try and make sure we don't give the gift to the same organisations year after year."

They continued to see a huge amount of charities applying for the grants each year about October, when applications opened.

After the winners have been picked, the money globes are collected and the money is counted under tight security.

The airport partners up with an organisation that does this specially - sorting out the different currencies before converting it all to New Zealand dollars.

"It's quite an involved process. There are a lot of tiny coins and it takes a long time to count it all and we're very careful to make sure that the process is overseen."

Despite a world of debit and credit cards, travellers still did carry cash and people were more than happy to donate that to charity at the end of their trip.