A Tale of Two Cities


City Mission workers in the Food Bank
City Mission workers in the Food Bank

‘Desperate Needs’ in Mr Key’s home town

By Alan Tristram

Because so many Aucklanders, including our former PM, are property millionaires, we thought we should present the other side of Christmas in  NZ’s biggest and richest city.

Mr Key may not have noticed, but things are getting steadily more Dickensian for the large numbers of poor in Auckland.

Dicken's Oliver asks for more food
Dicken’s Oliver asks for more food

For those in desperate need, it can’t be pleasant to have to queue for free food.

Dickens would have given Mr Key and Co. hell for what they have allowed to happen. I’d call it ‘malign neglect.’

This is born out by news from one of Auckland’s largest charities, the City Mission. They said today they’ve distributed nearly 4,000 food parcels since December 7. 

The Auckland City Missioner, Chris Farrelly, says December the 7th was the date the Mission started distributing Christmas emergency food parcels to ‘families and individuals living in desperate need.’

On Christmas Day the Mission will provide lunch for 2,000 guests, people who can’t afford Christmas at home or would have been spending the time alone.

Queues for food

Good food provided free for children
Good food provided free for children

Mr Farrelly says the queue that has been outside the Mission throughout this time highlights the need in the community, and not just over Christmas but year round. In their last financial year, demand for the Mission’s Crisis Care service was at an all-time high, as many families who could previously manage have had to seek assistance from their organisation.

He says: “While December is the Mission’s busiest time of year in terms of providing assistance to families, it is also a crucial period for raising the funding necessary to operate its essential social services throughout the year.

“Financial donations this Christmas have been slower to come than in previous years. We are still only three quarters of the way to reaching our $1.3 million fundraising target.”

Christmas and the difficult months ahead

“The Mission’s Christmas fundraising appeal is our largest fundraising drive and these donations help assist families not only over Christmas but also in the difficult few months at the start of year when we also experience high demand,” he says.

“Not many people are aware of this, but over 80 per cent of the Mission’s services are funded through donations, so the funds we are raising at the moment are crucial to the provision of our services in the coming months.”

Mr Farrelly adds: “We would be grateful if those who have not already contributed would consider making a financial donation, of any size to our Christmas Appeal which runs until Mid-January. ”

Year round help

Year-round, the Mission:

  • organises a low-cost medical care service
  • provides a drug and alcohol rehab. programme
  • gives outreach support for rough sleepers and isolated elderly people
  • provides emergency food support Auckland-wide
  • organises an activities programme and community centre for central Auckland’s homeless population
  • provides a ‘Crisis Care’ service for low-income individuals and families.