Hospices throughout the country, including Rotorua, have once again been overwhelmed by the support from Farmers Department Stores and their customers.
More than $759,000 was donated towards the end of 2019 for Hospice's Trees of Remembrance campaign. All funds raised in each community stay in that community to support the local hospice service.
For the people of Rotorua, the donation will enable Rotorua Community Hospice to make more than 500 visits to patients in their own homes, or invest in four specialised beds which can be lent to patients in their own homes.
"Not only did the team at Farmers embrace raising funds for our hospice, they also worked as ambassadors for our services, helping the community to better understand the work we do," Rotorua Community Hospice chief executive Jonathon Hagger says.
"The awareness raising that comes from being involved with Farmers is invaluable. The enthusiasm and commitment from all staff and the people of Rotorua has contributed to this amazing result."
Rotorua Community Hospice had community Trees of Remembrance stationed outside all the major supermarkets for four days leading up to Christmas.
Nicola Smallwood, fundraising and marketing manager at Rotorua Community Hospice, thanked the supermarkets and their customers, this brought in an additional $9453, taking the total above $30,000.
"It shows the very generous giving spirit of Rotorua people. To get over $9000 in cash and coin donations is amazing. We couldn't do it without our local supermarkets jumping on board too."
She says they had more than 200 volunteer spots to fill to help with the trees and Christmas wrapping in Farmers.
"It is wonderful to see how many individuals and businesses give up their time to support us at such a busy time of the year.
"We had community groups and businesses volunteer to look after a tree for a whole day, which helps us immensely."
The 2019 campaign was the sixth year that Farmers has raised funds for hospice and to date has generated more than $4.2 million to help keep services free.
The annual bauble produced by Farmers for hospice was once again in high demand.
Nearly 15,000 of the hand-painted collectable baubles, Ngaru by Spencer Bellas were sold, contributing a significant sum to the final total.
Hospice NZ chief executive Mary Schumacher says Farmers has recognised their staff and customers want to support people in their own communities living with a life-limiting condition.
"Because of this focus, people know their donations stay local and will mean in their communities hospice is there free of charge for anyone who needs support.
"We can't thank the Farmers team and their customers enough for their generosity towards hospice."
"At Farmers we are extremely proud of the amount raised during our Christmas hospice campaign through a combined effort and generous donations made by our customers, our staff, and our business,"Michael Power, chief financial officer of Farmers, says.