Christmas 2018 saw the launch of an ambitious new initiative aimed at making a difference to the lives of children experiencing hardship across our community.
A Children's Christmas Foundation was launched as a response to rising concern for child welfare in Hawke's Bay, where an estimated 23% of children are living below the poverty line, many of them experiencing extreme hardship. The Foundation was created to make a difference in the lives of these thousands of Hawke's Bay children who might not otherwise receive a gift at Christmas.
Last year, contributions by local businesses and members of the community enabled the purchase of gift sacks for 2000 children which included long-lasting, educational, and active items tailored to age groups from toddlers to teenagers such as trikes, scooters, sporting balls, books, and stationery.
The stark reality is that this is not just a Hawke’s Bay issue, but a national one. The Salvation Army has stated that “1 in 5 families in New Zealand cannot afford Christmas this year”. The Foundation believes in thinking big and dreaming bigger, so this Christmas, we are seeking to triple our efforts, and we are working with councils to reach 6000 children living in poverty across Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa.
As a business which has such long-term commitment to our community, making a positive difference to the local community has to be at the heart of what we do. This year’s Santa sacks will focus on enabling kids to have a strong start to the school year, providing backpacks, water bottles, sports balls, a range of essential stationery and school supplies, activity books, and children's storybooks. Profoundly increasing access to books and school supplies for these children supports their education at home and at school, an integral component in breaking the cycle of hardship for the many families across New Zealand.
A considerable part of this initiative wouldn’t be possible without the support and coordination of the many volunteers and charities operating across Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa, to which we owe many thanks for their incredibly hard work.
HOW CAN YOU GET INVOLVED?
As part of this initiative, we have teamed up with Hawke's Bay children's book authors Jac Lang and Sophie Siers alongside Millwood Press to provide exceptional New Zealand books to children living in hardship.
Millwood Press have generously agreed to donate between one and three of Sophie's bestselling books for each book purchased through our website or in our cellar door. These books make fantastic additions to any child's library with vibrant stories, engaging themes, and rich illustrations, asking to be read again and again.
Jac Lang has also generously donated her hilarious and heartfelt debut children's book, Fox in Space, with all proceeds going to the foundation.