25 Dec 2021

Federated Farmers pitch in to help Auckland City Mission amid high demand

3:01 pm on 25 December 2021

The rural community is giving Auckland City Mission something to smile about this Christmas.

Volunteers from software company Aderant, including Ruby Yeh (foreground, left) and Ben Shaw (foreground, right), are among the volunteers preparing bags of presents for families at the Auckland City Mission today.

Volunteers preparing bags of Christmas presents for families at the Auckland City Mission in 2016. Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

Last month, Federated Farmers staff saw in the paper that requests for Auckland City Mission's food parcels were two or three times its normal December numbers.

The article sat next to one about how farmers were getting near record prices for their products.

Gisborne Waitoa Regional president Toby Williams said it did not seem quite right.

"Aucklanders have done it really, really tough in the last three or four months with the lockdown and, through no fault of their own, have ended up needing some extra support," he said.

"As a farmer, the pandemic hasn't really affected us as badly. We go to work, we do all our normal jobs and our prices are incredible. Wouldn't it be nice if we could give something back to the people in Auckland?"

A Givealittle page, 'Farmers Feed Families', was set up with the aim of raising $100,000 for the Auckland City Mission.

Open food parcel

Demand for Auckland City Mission's food parcels are two or three times its normal December numbers. Photo: RNZ Insight / Sarah Robson

Williams said he had been blown away by the response, with a single donation of $20,000 received on Christmas Eve.

"It was really unexpected ... it was the icing on the cake.

"It's going to give extra families extra reason to smile this Christmas when they sit down and they've got some food and maybe some gifts for the children who otherwise wouldn't have had it.

"It's given me the warm fuzzies."

The page has raised nearly $70,000 and counting.

Nandos on the menu for Christmas lunch

Meanwhile, Auckland City Mission has said it will be handing out hundreds of free Nandos lunches today, instead of its annual Christmas lunch.

Traditionally, it has hosted a large Christmas lunch in one place, but that cannot happen under the red light restrictions.

Hundreds enjoy Christmas lunch at the Auckland City Mission.

The usual Christmas lunch event could not be held due to Covid-19 restrictions. Photo: Nita Blake-Persen

It said bookings for the takeaway lunches are full, and there would also be presents for families with tamariki.

They will be distributed from two Nandos restaurants on Queen Street and in Manukau.

In the leadup to Christmas, the Mission has already given out about 9000 food parcels and 30,000 presents.

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