25 Dec 2014

Festive meals for thousands

6:25 am on 25 December 2014

City Missions are catering for thousands of people this Christmas Day with lunches, hampers and presents for children.

Tables ready for the Auckland City Mission lunch.

The biggest of the City Mission lunches is in Auckland Photo: RNZ

Auckland City Mission provides the biggest lunch, hosting about 2500 people at its waterfront venue.

Auckland City Missioner Diane Robertson said about 600 volunteers are preparing 240kg of both ham and chicken and 100kg of potatoes and of kumara.

The mission has also handed out about 3000 food parcels and thousands of Christmas presents to families.

Ms Robertson said it had raised its annual appeal target by $500,000 to $1.5 million to cover rising costs.

In Wellington, the City Mission has delivered 100 hampers to families it helps.

Chief executive Michelle Branney said the charity provided support to about 600 people a day, many from large families.

Ms Branney said many items from the hampers come from the Pack the Bus campaign which travelled around Wellington schools earlier in December.

The hampers also have turkey legs or hams from local meat suppliers and Christmas cakes and pavlovas from chef Ruth Pretty.

Christmas meal in prisons

Prisoners around the country will tuck into roast chicken, gravy and apple pie.

Christmas lunch in prison

Chicken is on the menu for Christmas dinner in prisons. Photo: Supplied

National Commissioner Jeremy Lightfoot said the day will be marked appropriately, but will not be extravagant.

"It will be a day of routine and reflection with many of the normal activities taking place. For many prisoners, it will be a day spent thinking of friends and families in different parts of the country."

Mr Lightfoot said prisoners working towards a qualification in hospitality and catering will prepare 8600 meals for lunch, and sandwiches for dinner.

No visits are allowed on Christmas Day, but some units were having extra family days with food prepared by prisoners.

"A number of charities, such as Pillars and Prison Fellowship, are helping the families of prisoners to ensure that they do not go without, as we recognise that this time can be difficult for prisoners' friends and families. We're committed to doing all we can to make this day easier for the children of prisoners," he said.

Mr Lightfoot said a large number of prisoners were using arts and crafts learnt in prison to make presents for family and friends.