Thank you for being amazing, we really appreciate it. It has made our Christmas something to look forward to.
We are going to actually enjoy Christmas and not dread it like normal.
These are just two of the many social media comments from whānau who came along to Visionwest to receive a Christmas From The Heart food and gift box.
At the core of it, Christmas From The Heart 2021 was about helping every whānau in our community to have the joyful Christmas they hope for. It was about ensuring everyone had the chance to celebrate, relax and enjoy Christmas.
Those in the community who are doing it tough at the moment were encouraged to contact Visionwest and pre-register for food boxes containing essential food items, special Christmas food to ensure their whānau had something special for Christmas dinner, and, where appropriate, gifts for their children.
In seven days, over 1,300 food and gift parcels were sourced, packed, processed, and given away. These provided Christmas food support for 2,845 adults and 3,334 children.
This was the third year in a row that Visionwest have held such an event. What was noticeable this past Christmas was the adverse effect COVID has had on many families. Many of those receiving food and gift parcels shared stories of job losses or income decreases due to the August lockdown which has left them struggling financially like they never have before.
It was a privilege to be able to help our community in this way.
The entire event was run in strict accordance with all COVID protocols. The wearing or masks and social distancing were observed at all times. The various teams packaging and processing parcels were kept in separate bubbles. Parcel pick-up was contactless with whānau driving into the Visionwest carpark, popping their boot, and allowing Visionwest staff and volunteers to place their parcel inside. Gift wrapping paper was included in the parcel, but the children’s gifts were provided unwrapped to give parents the joy of wrapping them themselves.
A big thanks to all the local businesses who sent teams along to help and to all those businesses and individuals who donated so generously to bring Christmas joy to so many who would otherwise have gone without.
Here’s a final comment from one of those who came through to pick up a parcel,
Youse rock! I came today with my three kids. Youse were all so Christmassy, cheerful, and friendly; dancing around made the kids so happy – my two-year-old loved watching you dance around our car. It was an awesome experience. Thank you for our sausage sizzle. We were quite hungry when we arrived and were planning on munching on something from our food parcel but there were hotdogs all ready for us to enjoy. They were yummy. Thank you. Youse also accommodated for my baby – she was given baby biscuits. What a treat! I loved the whole experience. Everyone was amazing. I’m looking forward to wrapping their presents tonight once they’re all asleep. Thank you all so much!