For many of us, Christmas is a wonderful time of year spent enjoying all the good things in life with our loved ones. Unfortunately though, not everyone is lucky enough to celebrate the season.
There are so many Kiwis who will be struggling this festive season, but there are things we can do to help. If you want to lend a helping hand to those less fortunate this Christmas, here are six lesser known Kiwi charities doing some amazing work around the country:
The brainchild of two Auckland ladies who are passionate about helping others, Foster Hope offer caregivers practical support when a child shows up on their doorstep late at night with very few belongings. They provide foster children with a backpack of essential items to ease their way and symbolise community support for them and their carers.
What they need most this Christmas: Toothbrushes, pyjamas, nappies, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, slippers.
The House of Grace
This non-profit organisation was established in 2001 to offer a safe home, love, support and guidance to pregnant teens in NZ. The House of Grace has since helped more than 200 young women learn life skills and prepare for parenting or adoption.
What they need most this Christmas: Baby towels and face cloths, new baby items like nappies, tissues and toilet paper, clothing airers, chilly bins and tinned food. All of these would make a huge difference in a young mum’s life.
Big Buddy recruits positive male role models to mentor fatherless boys in NZ. It was set up to develop courage, confidence and general wellbeing in young boys, and to date has matched over 800 mentors with boys between 7-14 years from all walks of life.
What they need most this Christmas: Financial donations to help them continue their work, organise events and get the word out about Big Buddy through strategic marketing. If you know a male figure that might be interested in being a mentor, they can also apply through the website. Once men apply to become a mentor, they go through a carefully developed mentor screening process which determines if this is the right path for them. This takes about 8 weeks.
Garden to Table
This charity works with thousands of primary-school-aged children all across New Zealand, helping them discover a love for fresh food, learn about seasonality, the social aspect of sharing meals and increased numeracy and literacy. The programme is integrated into the curriculum and children become involved in all aspects of gardening in an environmentally sustainable garden, cooking and then enjoying meals they have produced themselves.
What they need most this Christmas: $5 will send ten packets of seeds to a school to get their garden started, $20 will help support a child in the Garden to Table programme for one year, and $45 will help train an entire school to deliver the Garden to Table programme.
Brain Injured Children Trust
This non-government-funded body provide funding and equipment to families who’s children need intensive care as the result of a brain injury, such as Cerebral Palsy. They also provide emotional support and knowledge to parents of brain-injured children.
What they need most this Christmas: The Trust rely entirely on charitable donations to continue their life-changing work. You can organise directly with the charity to fund something specific like an exercise bike or a piece of therapy equipment, or you can make a financial contribution. The Trust also need volunteers who can help administer Neuro-Developmental Therapy Programs (NDTP).
Bees Up Top
Bees are responsible for one third of the world’s food thanks to their pollination. Bees Up Top founders, Jess and Luke, have been urban beekeepers for five years, and aim to increase New Zealand's bee population by supplying healthy, happy hives to urban areas and educating future generations on their importance.
What they need most this Christmas: Rent a hive!!! Jess and Luke will assess your location and then move your new resident bees in, housed in their signature yellow and white striped home with a grass matt which the bees will use as a landing pad. Beyond cute. There are three prices to choose from and every option means you get to enjoy countless jars of honey made by your new bees every year.