Christmas parcel services work overtime

Christmas parcel services work overtime

Charity groups have been working overtime this Christmas to satisfy an increasing demand for their services.

Behind every food parcel of course is a group of generous donors, but also a team of volunteers working hard to make sure those needs are met.

At this time of year the Auckland City Mission distribution centre resembles something a little more like a factory production line. There's sorting to be done, boxes to be packed and deliveries to be made.

"We struggled to keep up last week with the daily requirements, so we're just trying to get ahead. Our target today is to make around 400 parcels if not more," says Auckland City Mission distribution manager Tracy Goddard.

Over the past two weeks, the City Mission has dished out more than 3000 food parcels. That's already more than the entire Christmas period last year.

Donations are still rolling in, giving a team of around 20 volunteers plenty to pack in.

"Along with the food parcel, people will get a portion of bread, margarine, a pre-cooked frozen sausage pack; they'll get fresh vegetables – onions, potatoes, carrots and any fresh greens, depending on what we've been given," says Ms Goddard.

Across town, the Royal Oak Salvation Army is doing its bit by gifting toys donated by department stores and the public.

But its act of goodwill has been dealt a sour blow, with an act of vandalism rendering up to 2000 donated toys unsafe.

"There was a 4x4 post that had been thrown through. It was into the building here and the shards of glass had gone right into the area where most of the toys for the age group three to five, three to seven were," says Rod Ellis from the Salvation Army Royal Oak.

It has put the toy drive behind its target, with fears some families may miss out.

"At this present stage, yes it will. We haven't got enough toys for that age group. So we'll find it very difficult to get toys to put in the parcels for that particular group," says Mr Ellis.

People wanting to help the Salvation Army replace its damaged gifts can donate through its website.

And with six sleeps to go there's still time to ensure there's something to celebrate this Christmas for families who would otherwise go without.

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