Fifeshire Foundation manager Rachel Swarbrick with some of the items that have been donated for The Big Give. Photo: Kate Russell.

The ‘Big Give’ for Christmas


Christmas can be a tough time of year for many Nelson families, but one local organisation is aiming to fix that.

The Fifeshire Foundation is currently running their seventh ‘The Big Give’ Christmas appeal and will soon be handing out more than 300 Christmas packages to those in need.

Recipients will get a $50 food voucher, Christmas food, gifts and toys, and Fifeshire Foundation manager Rachel Swarbrick says they work closely with social agencies to put it all together.

Around 100 packages have already been made up, but they still need help to fill another 200.

One thing they are encouraging people to donate this year is vouchers for department or clothing stores.

“It gives them choice – even if it’s only $5 or $10.”

Rachel says things like family experiences, such as passes to the swimming pool or board games, are also appreciated, as are non-perishable food items, cereals and Christmas treats.

“One thing we are also in need of are gifts for teenagers, especially boys. Deodorant, sports or outdoor stuff – things like that.”

Rachel says as well as it being about giving, it is also an awareness campaign, highlighting Christmas is not an enjoyable time for everyone.

“In Nelson, poverty is very well hidden. People question it, but there are a lot of families who are really struggling. This provides an outlet for the community to give back.

“It’s about locals looking after locals.”

She says the generosity of Nelsonians so far has been amazing.

“Someone slipped $160 worth of Richmond Mall vouchers under the door of Fifeshire House the other day and someone has donated $2000 through our website.”

You can donate goods to NBS and Ray White branches, The Giving Tree at Richmond Mall, directly to Fifeshire House, or some schools are also doing collections. Alternatively, you can make a donation online at

Meanwhile, The Salvation Army say they are preparing to help at least 280 Nelson and Tasman families in need over the Christmas period.

Nelson corps officer, Major Kenneth Walker, says they can’t keep up with demand without support from the public.

Wanted items include toys and festive food and these can be donated to the Kmart Wishing Tree in Richmond, their Rutherford St centre or they have a can drive at Summit Real Estate branches.

Kenneth says no matter what you give, people appreciate it.

“Just knowing that someone cares is a great gift in itself.”

For a full list of where you can give this Christmas, see the Christmas section of the Nelson App.