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Te Awamutu Courier - 2021-10-14

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Donations, help sought for Christmas hampers

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There are just 10 Mondays until Christmas is here, and a local community initiative really needs the communities’ help to spread the cheer. Operation Christmas Hampers, a community-led initiative in its third year, was designed to put together food and gift hampers for families in need. “We see a lot of need in the community; we’re not blind to it when we go into houses,” says Te Awamutu police Community Constable Ryan Fleming. With Christmas fast approaching, the team behind the operation is frantically rallying for donations for this year’s hampers. Ryan says fundraising this year has been minimal due to Covid-19, and the team has had to adapt the way it collects funds. Usually, they host fundraising events such as car washes and sausage sizzles, and closer to Christmas they even would get out to do a food drive for several weeks. “We haven’t had the opportunities that we normally would in a normal year, so as a result we have to make do with less,” says Ryan. “But we’re not going to let this little virus beat us, the virus has ruined lots of things but it’s not ruining Christmas.” This year they are aiming to make about 200 hampers and the focus will be on treat foods. “We want to target all the nice stuff that you get to eat too much of on Christmas Day,” says Ryan. There are several ways the community can help to contribute to this year’s operation. The team is calling for monetary donations, encouraging workplaces to host food collections or to run a bake sale, and they hope that schools may want to have food collection bins placed in classrooms that students can contribute to. In other years supermarkets have come on board with vouchers, which Ryan says have gone a long way. If making a food donation to the operation, it is important to be mindful of the items’ expiry date. Come Christmas time, about 50 community members will spend about a week volunteering their time to put together the hampers and to deliver them to families. “They [food and treats] get put into hampers and then they get delivered over one or two days, and that is just utter chaos,” says Ryan. To find out more about the operation, how to donate or how to volunteer, contact operationchrist mashamper@ gmail.com Monetary donations can be deposited directly to Zion Church Trust. Bank account: 06-0594-0178286-0 Reference: OCH. A tax certificate can be provided upon request.

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