22 Dec 2018

Auckland Christmas hamper charity expands to Waikato

1:46 pm on 22 December 2018

It is the first time The Spirit of Christmas New Zealand charity has expanded to provide Christmas hampers for solo parents in Waikato.

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Photo: 123RF

Nearly 150 volunteers for The Spirit of Christmas NZ charity, which has been operating in Auckland for the past five years, have been preparing hampers this silly season for solo parents in financial distress.

Its founder Aaron D'Souza said it was encouraging to see the charity expand.

"We've had two ladies living in the Waikato who have been co-ordinating the area," he said.

"They've been looking for donations and funding [there]."

Mr D'Souza said they will be making about 60 hampers at Ambury Park in Mangere today.

He said this year they were also collecting donations for scholarships for school students to cover costs like textbooks, and providing scholarships for solo parents who want to upskill.

Mr D'Souza said as a solo parent for eight years, getting a teaching degree changed everything for him.

"It made things that much easier for me basically because I was in a job that I loved, as well as a job that gave me holidays off with my children whenever the holidays came around," he said.

"Education really I think is the key, and empowering solo parents to be able to help themselves to kind of get out of the rut."

Mr D'Souza said he is hoping for enough donations to fund five scholarships.