Christmas was made a whole lot easier for families at Auckland City Mission's annual Chrismas lunch and missioner Chris Farrelly says it's about embracing people with the spirit of the season.
It's been a busy festive season for the Auckland City Mission and with New Years only three sleeps away its about to get even busier. With numbers growing each year the City Mission continues to be inundated with people to serve. And taking the mission's services to the people out into the communities has been an effective way for those in need to hold onto their dignity.
The Auckland City Mission CEO Chris Farrelly says, "For us at the City Mission Christmas began on the 10th of December when we started services at the Papakura Marae, Te Whare Wātea in Māngere and Eden Park. Those services were special food parcels and special needs grants and presents for families."
He adds, "We've been doing that for almost 100 years. This year the numbers that came through was double approximately just over 8,000 families were served in that two weeks leading up to Christmas. Of course, we had Christmas Day, our lunch and every day we're open so it's just every day there's people at the mission. We've made access easier for people so we've gone for the very first time to marae. Instead of having people queue up at Hobson Street all night really in quite a shameful situation, there's a lot of whakamā there."
This year the Auckland City Mission has distributed 12,753 emergency food parcels to struggling families and individuals, and have successfully housed 112 homeless clients.