Community asked to support hamper project one last time

Final hamper project . . . Members of Dunedin's Christian Helping Agencies Group (CHAG), (from left) Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie, Methodist Mission client support worker Sean Martin, Presbyterian Support Otago practice manager Deb Gelling, and Catholic Social Services community support worker Paul Barham are planning the final Christmas hamper project for this Christmas. PHOTO: BRENDA HARWOOD

Dunedin’s Christian Helping Agencies Group (CHAG) is calling on the community to support its annual Christmas hamper project, for one last time.

This December’s distribution of Christmas hampers for 300 Dunedin families in need will be the last.

Presbyterian Support Otago practice manager Deb Gelling said the CHAG organisations, which had run the project for the past 15 years, felt that it was time to shift their focus to supporting the Community Christmas Dinner at Dunedin Town Hall.

The giant Christmas dinner, organised by the Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust, brings together more than 500 people for a meal and social celebration.

“We feel that the Christmas dinner offers community connection for families – a chance to enjoy Christmas with others,” Ms Gelling.

“In recent years, we have been referring more people to the Christmas dinner, so from next year we plan to put our efforts into supporting that event.”

However, the CHAG agencies, including the Salvation Army, Presbyterian Support Otago, Methodist Mission, Catholic Social Services, and Anglican Family Care, remain committed to the Christmas hamper project this year.

The project provides 300 Dunedin families, clients of the contributing organisations, with the ingredients for a Christmas meal, treats, toys, and gifts.

Salvation Army Dunedin community ministries manager David McKenzie said the budget for the hampers was about $10,500, and the agencies were hoping for community support to raise the $3000 still needed to reach this total.

“The Christmas hamper project has always had very generous support from the community, and we are hoping that support will continue for this final time,” he said.

The CHAG representatives expressed their appreciation to all who have supported the project over the years, including Vege Boys, local Lions clubs, community organisations, and individuals.

“We want to thank everyone who has supported the project, or volunteered along the way,” Mr McKenzie said.

“It’s the end of an era.”

People who wish to make a donation towards the Christmas hamper project are welcome to do so through the agencies, or via the bank account: 3-0905-0930990-25.