Streamlined Christmas giving

Most of the Cambridge Committee of Social Services assembled for a meeting last week. They are (back, from left) Harold Thomas (Lions); Richard Berghan (Bridges Church); Brent Nielsen (Age Concern); Julie McKenzie (Raleigh St Christian Centre); Juliet Drage (St Andrew’s Church); and Kiri Gray (Cambridge Marae). In the centre, from left, are Marie Payne (Citizen’s Advice Bureau), and Karen Baker (Salvation Army); and at front, from left, are Joanne MacLennan (Cambridge Community House); new committee chair Julie Epps; and Pixie du Plessis (Union Parish Church).

Families receiving Christmas donations through the generosity of others will do so this year using a more streamlined system.

The Cambridge Committee of Social Services (CCOSS) is working on a new template that will see donations come in slightly earlier than in previous years, so they can be distributed to those in need in time for Christmas.

Karen Baker of the Salvation Army’s Cambridge Corps, said the changes were being put into place to avoid donations coming in too late to be handed out to families in time for Christmas Day.  The adjustments relate to both the timings around donations, and the location where they can be left.

“We are sincerely grateful to those who generously gift items for others in need, but we need to adjust the timeframe so that families in need get the items in time for Christmas.  This year, on behalf of CCOSS, The Salvation Army in Williamson St will be the collecting station for all social services represented on the committee, and in order to give us time to sort, arrange and meet with families in need, we are hoping the donations could be in by Monday, December 18.”

Another change is the call for those donating Christmas gifts to bring them in unwrapped, perhaps leaving a roll of wrapping paper with the gift instead.

“As our families come and choose presents for their children, it would be better if presents could be donated unwrapped.”

Karen said the annual Christmas initiative was supported financially by local Lions and Rotary groups, and the Salvation Army.

“The need to provide this kind of support is increasing all the time,” she said. “Last year, there were about 50 to 55 families we were dealing with.  This year, we expect the number to be closer to 70. By applying an inter-agency approach, we can hopefully avoid the bottlenecks we have been seeing in recent years, and make it easier for people to know where to drop off their donations.

“While we at The Salvation Army will be the collection station for the donations, people can make it known to us which agency they would like it to go to – either CCOSS or The Salvation Army directly.”

Donations coming in to all social services can be left at the Salvation Army’s Williamson St premises from December 1 to 18, either between 10am and 2pm Monday to Thursday, or by arrangement with the church office on 07-827 4723.

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