Christmas is a special time for families to come together, to share a special meal and to exchange a present or two.

Sadly, for some families in communities the extra money needed for a family Christmas turns this time of hope and wonder into one big stressor.

As Major Pam Waugh, Head of Communities Ministries, Salvation Army and Deputy President of NZCCSS, puts it “Stress and debt are big factors for many families with Christmas expenses and back-to-school pressures difficult for those living paycheck to paycheck. Housing costs and security of housing are major concerns and many families’ incomes are consumed by rent, electricity and other bills, with food becoming the expendable in the weekly budget“.

Recent Salvation Army data points to an increased demand for basic food parcels (up 7%), and this increased is seen both in cities and provinces across New Zealand.  A similar story is found among NZCCSS’ other member agencies.

Our church based member agencies are not deterred and all over the country Christmas Appeals and local initiatives are to be found. For the Salvation Army, their regular Christmas appeal, has been joined by an additional one A Gift of Hope, which is about supporting families past Christmas day with tailored gift packs.

Check out the webpage and see the variety of ways you can make a real difference to the lives of children and families around the country this Christmas. There is something for everyone to contribute.

Give to a child – starting school kit (school essentials), snuggle packs (duvet, PJs, Christmas gift).

Gift to a family – crisis care (full social services support), family food parcels (essential items).

Gift to a parent – baby bundle (essential items), budgeting session, parenting skills, temporary accommodation (safe shelter for family).

Gift from business – Support packages to children, families, parents.