I don’t know if you’ve ever imagined what Christmas would’ve been like if you hadn’t had presents under the Christmas tree or in a stocking at the end of your bed, to open. Imagine how you would have felt if there wasn’t even a single present for you to unwrap on Christmas morning.
It would’ve been a very sad Christmas.
What is Gifts for Kids all about?
Gifts for Kids is aimed at making sure that doesn’t happen for as many kids as possible. We provide Christmas gifts to kids who, because of family hardship and through no fault of their own, wouldn't otherwise have something to open a Christmas day. Wouldn't otherwise get to experience a little of the special magic of Christmas.
How big is it?
For Christmas 2016, with the generous financial support of WhereScape and staff as well as a number of other individuals and organisations we raised just over $15,400 to buy presents. Working closely with Plunket we, bought, wrapped and delivered Christmas gifts for just over 700 children in the West Auckland and Panmure/Glen Innes/Mt Wellington area, who wouldn't have had a single present to unwrap on Christmas morning.
What was WhereScape and NOW Consulting’s contribution?
WhereScape & NOW contributed $2000 and thanks to a little arm twisting from Nick Hayward the staff opened their hearts and their wallets to contribute another $1000. A total of $3000 - that is fantastic! Your generous support meant another 130 kids got to look forward to a present to unwrap all week, and then got to open their gift on Christmas morning. Thank you so much.
Note that all the money donated goes towards buying gifts. No one gets paid.
How do we do it?
Plunket is a critical partner in the GiftsForKids program. We aligned ourselves with Plunket because they are ideally placed to identify the kids of families who are struggling and who can’t afford (for whatever reason) to buy presents for their children. In the months leading up to Christmas, the Plunket nurses, identify the families in their area that are most in need.
Plunket then does the exacting job of compiling all the lists – name of the child, their age and whether it’s a boy or a girl and the address to deliver to. Els and I take those lists and have the fun job of buying all the presents.
In the first year we had a smaller number of children to buy for so we could fit them all in a shopping trolley or 3 and a load in the car. However it’s pretty tough to fit them all in a shopping trolley now that we’ve got so many to buy for. It’s become a bit more of a “military operation” and thank goodness for the great help from David and Cheryl Whittle at ToyWorld. Not only do they do a great job of helping select the right gifts, they also give us a fantastic deal on the cost of the gifts, and donate money to help pay for them. And help deliver them to the Plunket offices so we can sort and wrap them.
In the meantime Plunket gets on with the big task of handwriting each child’s name on a label to go on their present so that each child gets a personalised present.
In the week before Christmas we have a wrapping night where we get a great turnout of help from Plunket staff and their families, the donors and their families, and our friends and families – at both Panmure and Henderson. They come to help wrap, pack and make sure that:
- each present was wrapped and the right kid’s name label goes on the right gift
- the right presents went in the right bag(s) for the right family
- the right bags for the right families go out with the right Plunket nurse so they can manage deliveries around their heavy time commitments of their day jobs
It’s a great evening at both sites, with plenty of focussed organisation, a lot of fun and a little chaos. All who were involved left with a big smile and a feeling of connection to a worthy cause.
The following day Els and I go out on the Plunket vaccination bus to deliver presents to the children with Diana – one of the Henderson Plunket team. Diana makes it extra tangible and real for us with the background she gives us on each family before we deliver. The bulk of the gifts are delivered by the Plunket nurses over the course of the week leading up to Christmas.
So that’s what the GiftsForKids program is all about. A big part of it for us is being actively involved in the whole process from buying the gifts to wrapping and delivering them. And the best part is the amazing feeling we get when we see the look on a parents face when they know they’re going to have presents for their children to look forward to on Christmas day. To know, on Christmas day, that we made a difference; that each of the children we delivered to got to unwrap a present that they wouldn’t have otherwise had. To know that a whole bunch of kids got to experience a little of the magic of Christmas.
So a massive thank you to WhereScape and all the staff for your generosity. You should feel very proud of the difference you made to a whole lot of kids with your big-hearted support.
What about Christmas 2017?
We’ll be doing it again.
Campbell and Els
P.S. To help make it all a bit more real have a look at the TV3 News story from Christmas Eve 2014.
- We also made a short video on how we do it: Click here https://youtu.be/Y3znXArU1jc (made with the generous support of Chris South and the team at Prominence Social)
- The GiftsForKids website is www.giftsforkids.co.nz