Coronavirus: Donations to St John Ambulance, other crucial charities plummet during lockdown

Emergency services that rely on public donations say COVID-19 is going to leave them millions of dollars out of pocket. 

They've had to scrap their annual appeals - so now there's less money but more costs. 

Whether you're treated in a hospital in the air or on the road the essential workers looking after you are taking extra precautions to keep you and them safe. 

But the lockdown has come just as the country's 15 rescue helicopter trusts were about to appeal for public donations. 

Harry Stevenson from Westpac Rescue Helicopter Wellington says it's been a big hit. 

"The COVID-19 lockdown has had a massive impact on our fundraising - our grants and a lot of our corporate sponsors have had to retract a lot of their giving. "

Westpac is the exception - it's donating an extra $1 million dollars to the service. 

While crews have had a drop in the number of rescue jobs while people are in lockdown - it's brought extra expenses like providing and using personal protective equipment (PPE). 

"We still have the medical type jobs we go to - babies are still being born and then we have to gear up for actual COVID-19 jobs as well which requires a lot of training and preparation," Stevenson said. 

St John Ambulance has also cancelled their annual Heart of Gold appeal and say their projected deficit has grown by more than $10 million - and that's just since lockdown began.

Banks have fielded many calls for help. 

"A number of organisations have come to see us to see how we can help and in some cases, we have been able to quickly and in other cases, it's been a more case by case basis," said Simon Power, Westpac New Zealand's general manager of commercial corporate and institutional banking. 

On Friday Kiwis would normally be marking one of the country's oldest bucket collections - Poppy Day appeals have been running since 1922. 

This year it's had to postpone for the first time ever. 

The RSA says that also leaves them with a hole of $2 million dollars to make up.