Crombie Lockwood volunteers, from left, Laura Cresswell, Russell Johnston, Jennifer Adams and Vicky Edwards sorting through presents to give to needy families with Fifeshire Foundation manager Rachel Swarbrick, centre. Photo: Charles Anderson.

Locals helping locals

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Locals looking out for locals is a simple message, but one that the Fifeshire Foundation says is increasingly important at this time of year.

The Fifeshire Foundation has been providing relief to individuals and families in financial hardship and domestic crisis since 1993, and is currently running their sixth ‘The Big Give’ Christmas appeal.

Christmas is a time when most families are enjoying festive celebrations, planning holidays and giving gifts. But for the individuals and families in our region who are facing hardship, this can be an extremely challenging and stressful time of year.

“We want to make a difference to over 300 families facing hardship in the Nelson Tasman region this Christmas,” says Foundation manager Rachel Swarbrick. “There is a real need in our community at this time of year and we need to work together to give something back.”

The Fifeshire Foundation has been collecting vouchers, food and gifts for the past month and are now ready to package them up and distribute them. While giving out hundreds of presents and food parcels might sound exciting, it’s also a lot of work, so the staff at Crombie Lockwood volunteered to help.

“Every year the staff get to choose a community project to support,” says branch director Paul Mackay. “It’s our opportunity and our time to give back to the local community.”

Previously, the staff have helped paint houses for Habitat for Humanity and joined forces with the Department of Conservation planting young trees at Dominion Flats.

This year they will be working in two shifts, sorting through the donations and getting them ready for distribution.

“It’s very generous of them,” says Rachel. “As well as helping us pack up, they’ve also donated $2000.”

She says that while it’s still “a bit of a waiting game” while they get all the presents from under the Christmas trees, “we’ve already got presents out to 120 families, but I think we’ll be able to help over 300 families”.

It’s not too late to support the Big Give or the work of the Fifeshire Foundation. You can donate online at fifeshirefoundation.co.nz.