The Auckland City Mission starts distributing its emergency Christmas food parcels and presents today and Eden Park and two marae have become distribution centres this year.
The mission is currently meeting the needs of homeless and vulnerable Aucklanders out of its temporary premises in Union St in the CBD while construction work gets under way for HomeGround, its new facility at its Hobson Street site.
Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly says this has forced some changes to this year’s Christmas operation.
Instead of distributing the goods from Hobson Street, the mission is operating out of Eden Park, the Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere and Papakura Marae.
“We are thankful our clients will no longer have to queue from midnight outside our Hobson St building just to ensure a little Christmas cheer for their families," Mr Farrelly said.
Eden Park CEO Nick Sautner says the stadium is thrilled to be able to play a part in bringing some cheer to families in need.
“The park has sown a rich history for itself over the past 115 years and throughout that community has remained at its centre," he said.
"We are committed to utilising the park for more than just rugby and cricket and to have the opportunity to support a worthy cause like the City Mission this festive season is fitting.”
The Manukau Urban Maori Authority’s Ngā Whare Waatea Marae in Mangere and Papakura Marae are also working closely with the mission to distribute food parcels, presents and Work and Income support.
“MUMA has a long-standing partnership with the City Mission and it is only fitting that we open up Nga Whare Waatea Marae for this purpose. Our goal is and always has been - to serve whānau in South Auckland. This is at the core of everything we do,” said Wyn Osborne, MUMA CEO.
Tony Kake, CEO of Papakura Marae said: “We are absolutely committed to serving our Local Community in this way. If our support can bring a cheer to a family or a smile to a child face over this festive season - Awesome!"
Chris Farrelly said over the years people have had to travel at great cost from South Auckland to get the mission's assistance and "now we are grateful that due to the generosity from these two marae the mission can now go to the people".