Heather Milne — donated gifts go to a good cause

Aunties’ Christmas campaign

by Mike Isle

The annual Christchurch Aunties’ Christmas drive is on again, and the volunteer organisers say it’s winding up to be a “biggie” — even topping the success of last year’s inaugural drive.

Last year Selwyn residents dug deep, delving into their pockets to donate gifts that then went to make Christmas a little more joyous for families in the care of the Battered Women’s Trust, Shakti Women’s Refuge, Te Whare Hauora and West Christchurch Women’s Refuge.

The Aunties welcome the donation of any new items suitable for mother, teens or children.

Donations can be left at assigned drop-off points throughout Selwyn and Christchurch. The only requirements are that the gifts come in their original packaging, are unwrapped, and they are new — second-hand goods are not accepted.

Christchurch Aunties founder and principal organiser, Heather Milne, says she is astounded but not particularly surprised by the generosity of gift donors in the district.

“We saw that last year when we received a tremendous wave of support. Now this year with a wonderful bank of gifts building up, it looks like it is going to be even bigger,” she said.

“We are receiving a wide range of gifts, and they are very much appreciated. But we are particularly keen on gifts for mums — something that will pamper them, something that when they struggle to give their families the bare necessities will, give them something special.

Among the suggestions the Aunties make are, for mums: moisturisers and hand creams, perfumes, book vouchers and magazines; and, for younger family members, movie vouchers and Prezzie cards.

Mobile phone top-ups are warmly welcomed.

Gifts can be donated up until November 30. They are then wrapped and distributed by Christchurch Aunties’ 1,600 volunteers.

For further details and a list of drop-off points check out the Christchurch Aunties Facebook page or go to chchaunties.org.nz