The Tauranga Community has come together to share the spirit of Christmas to those less fortunate than themselves. The Tauranga Moana Night shelter was inundated with food and gifts from their community today.
The manager of the shelter, Anna-Marie Angus says, “I advertised on the Facebook page about our Christmas day and whether the public who support us through there would like to contribute. We get many offers of help from the community, people want to help these people and the work we do.”
The shelter which houses 20 beds was first established in 2014. Angus says 60% of the residents are Māori.
“It's a very special time at Christmas, and it helps the guys to know there are people around them that care,” said Angus.
VIcky Scott Is a trustee of the shelter. She hopes it will create more awareness about homelessness within the local community.
“There's also some people in the community who I suppose are fearful of what they don't know and if they haven't been in contact with or exposed to anyone from the homeless community they are perhaps fearful of their presence or what they represent,” says Scott.
Kira Follas volunteers for the shelter. She helped transition a man from being homeless into renting his own home.
She says, “It was the saddest thing I'd ever seen. I feel quite teary just talking about the change that's occurred in him. He was an alcoholic but he's been off it for 10 months and he's just a different person. He presents himself nicely, he feels loved and cherished and he has friendship and companionship as well as a whare to live in.”
The shelter will continue to share the Christmas spirit over the festive season.