The Waimate Christmas Child initiative is happening again, aiming to ensure no child misses out on waking up to presents on Christmas morning.
While Christmas can be one of the highlights of the year, it can also put extra strain on families already struggling to make ends meet.
Community Link operations manager Jakki Guilford says she has noticed a greater than usual demand from families for basic necessities such as paying bills and buying food without extra pressure such as Christmas.
“We have a cost-of-living crisis and all it takes is for one extra expense to come in and it can be a tipping point.”
This is the seventh year of the initiative led by Mayoress Lyn Stringer and every year she is “blown away” by the response.
“The capacity of this community to give is just phenomenal,” Mayoress Lyn says.
“We have parents coming into Council’s foyer with their children to donate gifts, and it is a really valuable lesson. Christmas is about giving as well as getting. Ours is a district that cares, and it shows the very best of who we are.”
“It is incredibly humbling to deliver the parcels and see the emotion on the faces of the parents and caregivers.”
The initiative takes referrals from a wide range of social services, and it is important to note that all the gifts are given to families within the Waimate District.
Gifts need to be brand new, unwrapped, and can be dropped off at the Waimate District Council reception by 12pm on Friday 10 December.
Last year, 76 packages of presents were distributed.