Please note while Auckland is at COVID-19 level 3 lockdown, we are working hard to keep the people we support, our staff and volunteers safe. Most of our services are operating within contactless guidelines. We cannot accept food or goods donations from the public at levels 3 & 4.  Click here to get help.

Christmas 2021

Let's give everyone a Christmas Day

Christmas is almost upon us and once again at Auckland City Mission – Te Tāpui Atawhai, we are expecting it to be a challenging time for many people across our city. While some in the city are fortunate enough to begin planning festive feasts and buying gifts for loved ones, there is an increasing number of Aucklanders who will need our support. Thanks to your generosity the team will be ready to bring Christmas magic to thousands of Aucklanders once more.

If you need support from the Mission this Christmas, you can find out more about our services here.

How can I help?

Monetary Donations

This Christmas the Mission expects to provide about 9,000 parcels of food and tens of thousands of presents to people needing support. If you are in a position to do so, a monetary donation is extremely helpful and greatly appreciated. Your compassion and generosity make a real difference to Aucklanders in desperate need.

Donate today

How can I help?

Gifts Donations

The Mission team is so grateful for all donations of gifts for us to help families in need. Although we will be able to accept gifts being dropped off at our depot, we are encouraging people to buy items online and send to our depot instead due to COVID-19 and parking restrictions. We are encouraging people to buy presents online from their favourite store and send them to our depot, rather than come onsite due to COVID-19 restrictions and limited carparking. We have also put together a handy guide, with three simple ways to organise a gift collection.

Give gifts

How can I help?


Although the Mission won’t require as many Christmas Day volunteers as we had prior to COVID-19, we are still looking for volunteers to help in other ways. You could sign up to support with the Christmas food and gift service leading up to the day itself. That can involve sorting and wrapping gifts, putting together boxes of food, taking food and gifts to people’s cars at our various collection points, or many other activities.

Register to volunteer

Scarlett's Story

“It’s a time of year when you can forget everything else going on in the world and be thankful that you’ve got each other.”

Scarlett* knows all too well how the Mission can help bring Christmas to a family who could otherwise be hungry. Four years ago, a cancer diagnosis meant that Scarlett had to leave her job to look after her health. Her husband of 24 years did the same, to help with her recovery and care for their family when Scarlett was too unwell to share that responsibility.

With a big family to support – five children and two young grandchildren – the transition from two stable incomes to living on the benefit was challenging. After rent and bills were paid, any remaining money went towards petrol– often leaving little for food and essential household goods.

This is what led the family to the Auckland City Mission and thanks to you we were able to help.
Scarlett says receiving food parcels without judgement was hugely important. It meant each member of the family could have three nutritious meals a day at a time when money didn’t stretch that far.

Over the latter part of this year, the Mission has again seen the demand for food increase significantly, since the rise in alert levels back in August. At the time of writing we are providing more than 1,600 food parcels a week, and at times in the last few months that has been as high as 2,000 a week. The Mission knows that this need will only continue, if not increase even more over the coming months as the ripple effects of an extended lockdown begin to be felt.

Food parcels aren’t the only support Scarlett has received from the Mission. A huge fan of the Christmas season, she goes so far as to put her tree up on November 1st. She says though that Christmas became difficult once the family relied on the benefit.

“For me, it’s a time of year when you can forget everything else going on in the world and be thankful that you’ve got each other. It’s a real feel-good time. When things started going bad, I felt guilty that I couldn’t get my kids what they deserve.

With the Mission’s support over the past few years, she has kept the magic of Christmas alive for her family. As part of the Mission’s support for families at Christmas, people can collect gifts for children along with their food. With a young daughter and little grandchildren to buy for, Scarlett’s income doesn’t stretch far enough to buy gifts. So, in recent years, she turned to the Mission so the children in her family each had a special gift under the tree to open on Christmas morning.

In 2020 with your help, the Mission provided over 30,000 Christmas gifts for tamariki across Auckland and with the challenges that lockdowns bring we are expecting that number again this year. Thanks to your generosity the team will be ready to bring Christmas magic to thousands of Aucklanders once more.

“Being able to receive help from the Mission was huge for me. The team went all out – gifting presents for all the kids, including my two grandkids, and daughter who was eight at the time. To see their joy and excitement made everything better.”

Scarlett says the Mission’s support meant that the family could be together and enjoy each other’s company. Without the stress of not enough food or any presents for the children, Christmas remained a special day for Scarlett and her family.

In the last year, Scarlett’s health has improved, although she will face complications from her illness for the rest of her life. And, despite all the hurdles she has faced and will continue to face, I am so heartened by her incredibly positive outlook.

Scarlett channels her creativity to keep busy and to save money. She has begun to grow her own vegetables, making planter boxes out of free pallets she finds on the curbside in industrial estates. She’s particularly proud of her tomato and zucchini crops. She is also growing fruit.

This year, with improved health, she is determined to make all of her Christmas presents – with homemade candles for the girls, and hand-sewn clothes for the boys.

Scarlett acknowledges that the family will still need support from the Mission from time to time and says she will be calling on the Mission to help her provide enough food over the festive season. But having the energy and time to craft gifts for her children this year is a big step forward for Scarlett in her recovery process.

Because everyone deserves a Christmas Day

Donate today