Grandmother Iris loves Christmas. It’s her favourite time of the year despite often being a time of hardship for Iris and her whānau.
Iris, who lives alone, says she enjoys the traditions and festivities of the season but it has always been difficult as she can never afford much. She stretches her income to buy small and useful gifts, such as deodorants and soaps, but wishes she could do more for her family.
Just before Christmas last year, life became very difficult for Iris. She had unexpected large bills to pay and, living off a basic income, she simply didn’t have enough money for food.
Iris remembers the growling of her empty tummy. “I hadn’t eaten for a couple of days” says Iris. “I have always been able to provide for myself. I didn’t want to ask for help, but I was hungry. That was the first time I went to the Mission. I couldn’t believe that I could get food – fresh fruit and veggies as well.”
When Christmas came around last year, Iris visited the Mission’s service at Eden Park in the early hours of the morning. She knew that receiving a food parcel would make her Christmas dreams come true. This is something she couldn’t imagine in Christmases gone by.
“I met so many wonderful people in the same boat as me. When I got the food parcel home and opened it I thought ‘WOW, now this is Christmas all right!’”.
So this Christmas – with support from the Mission – Iris is looking forward to spending precious time with her children and grandchildren. Knowing that the Mission can provide much needed support takes an enormous level of stress off Iris. It means she can enjoy Christmas with her family.
The Mission’s food parcel is more than simply a way to feed Iris this Christmas. She will forgo any treat such as chocolates, wrapping them up as gifts for her family who she knows will be delighted.
“I am very grateful for the Mission”, says Iris. “They do a marvellous job and without their help Christmas would be too hard for me.”