Covid changes Christmas for Auckland City Mission

By Mare Haimona-Riki

With less than three weeks till Christmas, families are gearing up for the holiday season but there will be many in Tāmaki who will go without presents, whānau and even kai.

However, this number is lowered considerably due to Te Tāpui Atawhai or The Auckland City Mission, which is preparing to provide more than 9,000 food parcels for whānau in Tāmaki during the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

Manutaki (Missioner/chief executive) Helen Robinson says this is already a difficult time for whanau, and Covid lockdown has only exacerbated these hard times further.

“We know that the main driver of food insecurity is just simply people don’t have enough money,” she says.

“The week before we went into August in lockdown, we were already doing 700 food parcels a week with our partners, and since the lockdown, we haven’t done any less than 2,000 per week.”

Although the mission won't be hosting its traditional Christmas feast with over 2,000 people in attendance, Robinson says they have alternatives that will still help all whānau enjoy the Christmas spirit. 

“Since we can't have more than 100 people in a room at a time, we have planned a series of events to open up Christmas Day, and over a three-hour period, we anticipate more than 300 people coming through.”