To help reduce loneliness at Christmastime, community organisations across New Zealand, including local Age Concern and City Mission branches, are working to ensure people who would normally spend Christmas by themselves have somewhere to go and someone to share the festive cheer.
Age Concern is supported by the ANZ Staff Foundation, where payday donations from staff are matched by the company. Foundation Chairman Mike Bullock says the bank’s Staff Foundation is proud to support organisations caring for people who might otherwise spend the holiday alone.
“Regardless of belief, Christmas is widely celebrated as a time to spend with family and friends. We know there’ll be many people living in New Zealand who, if not for community organisations such as Age Concern and local City Mission branches, would be spending the holiday alone.
“Instead of giving our staff Christmas gifts, we make a six-figure donation to the ANZ Staff Foundation to support community outreach across New Zealand.
“We encourage staff to support local organisations through food, gifts or monetary donations. A small contribution can go a long way.”
Christmas in the community
Havelock North’s Age Concern has been hosting Christmas Day lunch for the elderly in their community since 2010. In the first year 40 people came, and the next year it grew to 60 people.
“We’re expecting more than 300 people this year, which for a little town is phenomenal,” Age Concern Havelock North Manager Carol Winters says.
“We couldn’t host this celebration without funding. We were fortunate to get money from the ANZ Staff Foundation recently to help us host this year’s lunch. This means so much to our people and we’re incredibly grateful.
“Everyone celebrates Christmas differently, but for most people it’s about gathering around the table and having a meal with family. This group isn’t necessarily family but we always make it special.”