Christmas presents brings tears of joy
One young single mother was brought to tears when she received Christmas presents for her and her child and a young man has received gifts for the first time in four years.
They are amongst other struggling families, children, whānau and young people who will have something to celebrate this Christmas thanks to a special project coordinated between Presbyterian Support and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School.
Almost $10,000 worth of Christmas presents have been purchased by students and their families and given to Presbyterian Support staff to pass on to children and families the organisation has been helping throughout the year.
Coordinated by Presbyterian Support Community Relations Advisor Megan Waddington, the school was approached and asked to take part in this special Christmas project.
“We have a number of young people and families who are working hard to overcome personal struggles and mental health issues,” says Megan. “This includes young people who do not have any family ties but are still pursuing their dreams by putting themselves through education to improve their lives. One person will not receive Christmas presents from any of her family so the gifts she receives from Rangi Ruru will be incredibly special and very much appreciated.”
“They have very little and can’t afford much. Some have babies to care for and many of them struggle to afford even basic items. Even buying sanitary products is a challenge. Other basics such as pyjamas, underwear, socks and toiletries are often out of reach for some of our families.”
“Rangi Ruru’s response has been fantastic and as a result a huge range of gifts have been purchased.”
Rangi Ruru’s Chaplain & Teacher of Mathematics Rev Charissa Nicol says the year has been challenging for many people and the Rangi Ruru community have appreciated the opportunity to work alongside Presbyterian Support to give tailored boxes of gifts to people in the region.
“The students, staff and preschoolers were delighted to be involved and want to express their aroha as we celebrate God’s love for us all this Christmas.”
Presbyterian Support identified families and young people most in need – a single parent raising young children; grandparents raising grandchildren; a young person unable to live at home; or parents raising children with mental health needs – and gave the school some guidance on what type of gifts would be suitable.
“Without compromising the privacy of these families and young people, we gathered ‘intelligence’ such as age, their individual needs, and interests. This information was then given to the school so they had some idea of what could be purchased,” says Megan.
Gifts included movie and retail vouchers, sports goods, toiletries, toys, books, clothing, arts supplies, jewellery and make-up.
“Without a doubt, these gifts are bringing real joy to people whose lives are difficult and not at all easy. Along with all the other families and young people, they are overjoyed by the generosity.”