Ways to help those who are struggling at Christmas time

Charities across the country can become busier than usual at Christmas time, distributing food, necessities and gifts to those who need them.

Many people take the opportunity to come together with friends, family or colleagues to help those who are struggling at this time of year.

Here are a few ways you could help in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch:

Lifewise: Small acts of kindness make a big difference

Lifewise, an Auckland based community development organisation, says small acts of kindness can make a big difference to those who are sleeping rough. 

That could mean a smile, a greeting, or money.

Lifewise also runs Merge Cafe at 453 Karangahape Road, a community space where people experiencing homelessness can find peer support from volunteers and have meals.

Lifewise sells $20 meal cards, or the option to 'pay forward' a coffee or a meal. The cafe is also putting on a Christmas lunch on December 21 with roast ham and pudding. 

The organisation has a Christmas 2017 appeal, to help their volunteers continue to offer peer support to those experiencing homelessness. lifewise.org.nz/donate.

DCM Wellington: Needs necessities for men

At the Downtown City Mission in Wellington, three quarters of the people it works with are men.

"Some of the things you most dread getting for Christmas may be the very things the people we work with will appreciate most," a spokesperson said.

Here are DCM's donation suggestions:

  • Men's socks
  • Disposable razors, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants, body wash
  • Laundry powder
  • Food: Cans of corned beef, biscuits and crackers, canned fish (with tear-tab tops for people who are rough sleeping)
  • Donations can be dropped off to the DCM at 2 Lukes Lane on weekdays, or the food donation bin at New World Chaffers any time.

The Christchurch City Mission needs food and gifts

At the Christchurch City Mission, the foodbank is generally a good measure of need and it's already seeing increased demand.

"In the weeks before Christmas the number of people seeking food support will triple," a spokesperson said.

The Mission is putting on a Christmas lunch for over 700 people at Christchurch East Primary school, and provides over 200 children with gifts - many of these may be the only gifts they receive.

Here's what the Christchurch City Mission needs:

  • Christmas gifts for teenagers
  • Donations of toiletries for men and women, books, stationery and craft supplies
  • Chickens, hams, and lamb for the Christmas Lunch
  • Food parcels for those unable to go to the Christmas Lunch
  • Christmas treats including pavlovas, Christmas cakes and Christmas mince pies
  • If you are unsure, monetary donations are always appreciated