Friday 15 December 2023

Bringing the whānau together on Christmas Day

“The support we received from the Mission at Christmas was just phenomenal!  It was massive to be able to have all my kids together on Christmas Day. Those are good memories!” 

Bringing the whānau together on Christmas Day 

More than anything, Joe wanted his children to be able to celebrate Christmas together as a family last year.  With support from the Auckland City Mission – Te Tāpui Atawhai, he was able to create lasting memories with his whānau. 

Joe is the proud dad to six children, who he co-parents with his two former partners. “My oldest daughter is 14, then I have four boys and my baby daughter who will be two years old soon.” 

“I didn’t always have both parents in my life when I was growing up, so I know how important it is for my children to have a father figure in their life.” 

But the last few years have been tough for Joe, who has been suffering from painful, chronic gout since his twenties and needs frequent medical care.  Joe used to work full-time for a major construction company, but because of his health issues and his parenting responsibilities, he has been unable to commit to regular work for a number of years and has instead focused on being a dad. 

His tamariki don’t live with him all the time, so last Christmas, all he wanted was to bring them together for the day and see them happy. 

“I tried my best to make ends meet, but on my own, I just couldn’t give them the Christmas that I wanted to provide.” 

His wider family always try to support each other when times are tough, but last year they were going through hardships of their own. Joe’s mother suggested he reach out to the Mission for help at Christmas. 

Every year, the Mission distributes thousands of Christmas food parcels and children’s gifts to Auckland families who would otherwise go without.  With the Mission’s support, Joe could give his children a Christmas to remember.  

“It wasn’t easy to ask for help, because I’ve always had a strong sense of independence. But the support we received from the Mission was just phenomenal! My children loved the presents they got.” 

The boxes of food include pantry staples like rice and tinned tomatoes, as well as fresh vegetables, meat and bread. They also include the ingredients for a festive meal, such as a whole chicken, and Christmas treats for all the family.    

Getting a food parcel last December meant that Joe, his children and his former partner were able to enjoy a special Christmas dinner together. 

“The food was amazing – there were cakes, pavlova and heaps of tinned foods. We all enjoyed the food. It really brightened our spirits.” 

“It was massive to be able to have all my kids together on Christmas Day. I took a lot of photos that day. Those are good memories. The best bit was seeing the smiles on my children’s faces.” 

This year, things are looking up for Joe.  Now his children are a bit older, he’s started working part-time for a security company.  “My head is above water, and all my bills are paid.  The children are all doing good at school.  I’m in a better place.”   

But his hours vary from week to week and Joe knows he’ll still need a little bit of support from the Mission this year to make Christmas special for his children.