Thousands of Christmas boxes containing festive food will be distributed to families throughout Wellington and the Hutt Valley, Christchurch, Dunedin, Whangarei and other locations across New Zealand this month, thanks to members of ARISE Church.
The food has been donated by members of the church as part of the annual ARISE Church ‘Big Hearts at Christmas’. Each box contains enough food and goodies for families to celebrate Christmas together.
A total of 2000 boxes are expected to be packed and distributed before Christmas, an increase from the 1400 delivered last year.
ARISE Senior Pastor John Cameron said there is a significant need in the community, far greater than can be responded to.
“We have yet again been overwhelmed by the generosity of people behind the Big Hearts at Christmas initiative. It is a practical commitment by the church to those in need in our community.”
In past years, fresh food bags and a ham were in the Big Heart boxes. This year, to allow for dietary and religious requirements each box will be full of non-perishable food items along with a supermarket gift card to allow families choice of produce and meat.
ARISE Care coordinator James Duxfield says recipients of the boxes will be families with children in low decile schools, and also those associated with the Red Cross, Women’s Refuge, and other community contacts including its breakfast clubs where volunteers from ARISE Church have provided 100,000 meals to children in low decile schools.
“Many families do it tough at Christmas and it’s often the children that go without. As well as helping with food, we’ve found that by freeing up some finances, parents can often do something special for their children.
“Christmas is a celebration of life and joy and it’s a blessing to us to see others blessed.”