Ensuring Kiwi children have something to look forward to this Christmas

United Way and New Zealand businesses partner to ensure more Kiwi children have something to look forward to this Christmas

Christmas is a firm date in the calendars of children the world over. However, not every child looks forward to Christmas. United Way New Zealand is once again partnering with businesses to make sure that’s not the case for a few more young New Zealanders.

According to Statistics New Zealand, about one in eight New Zealand children lived in households reporting material hardship in the year ended June 2019. And with Covid-19 resulting in job losses, financial pressure, interruptions schooling and social routines, this Christmas will be particularly hard for many New Zealand children.

United Way NZ CEO, Teresa Moore says this will be the second year United Way has run its Christmas Shoebox Campaign and it is looking to increase the number of families it can help this year.

“Last year we partnered with 28 groups to make sure 1022 children didn’t wake up with nothing to open on Christmas morning. This year we want to double that number.”

Moore says organisations are now looking for activities to re-engage employees following a very fragmented year. 

“Community impact activities are an often under-utilised employee engagement tool, and in a year where so much is out of our control, the simple act of filling a shoebox to help a child enjoy Christmas a little bit more, injects a real sense of achievement.”

Moore says organisations that participated last year reported really positive results, with increased engagement and positivity at a time of year where people are often running out of steam. Businesses also enjoyed the fact that participation is easy, with United Way New Zealand delivering boxes to workplaces, then distributing them to community groups across the country when they were filled.

And while participation injects some Christmas spirit into the workplace, the impact on recipients and their families is significant. Moore says every parent wants to give their children a good Christmas and the relief and gratitude expressed by families knowing they had the support of their community was quite often life-changing.

“Last year our shoeboxes went to children in refuges who had left everything behind to escape domestic violence, they went to families struggling to put food on the table and to those spending their first Christmas in New Zealand, separated from their own culture and family.”

“Thanks to people all over New Zealand just filling a shoebox, 1022 children and their families, were able to enjoy a little bit of Christmas magic. We think every child deserves that.”

For more information on the 2020 United Way Shoebox Appeal please click here