Embrace the true spirit of Christmas with these simple ways to give something back to those who need it this year

The season for giving is upon us, and while selecting the perfect gifts for our families and friends is one of life’s greatest joys, giving to those less fortunate is perhaps an even more fulfilling feat. This Christmas, consider the latter and support one of the worthy causes we’ve rounded up here. If you fancy going one step further, call on your friends and family and inspire them to do the same — the more the merrier, we say. 

GIVE THE GIFT OF CHOICE

The Kindness Collective’s Christmas Joy Store is one of the very best ways to spread some Christmas cheer this silly season. Operating throughout December, The Christmas Joy Store gives the parents and caregivers of the 50,000+ children struggling this Christmas the ability to shop for presents and food, at no cost, ensuring absolutely no child goes without. Injecting both kindness and dignity into the holiday, the initiative invites families to choose gifts and treats for their children, selecting what they know they’ll love, off the shelves, meaning a more personal approach is taken. The options to support are plentiful: become a Secret Santa, match with a family, donate to feed a family, or simply give what you can. Every little bit counts. 

EAT OUT, DO GOOD

There’s a huge amount of food waste and food poverty happening in New Zealand, and the incredible team at Everybody Eats are tackling these issues head-on, one meal at a time. Across three venues (two in Auckland, one in Wellington), the charity serves chef-prepared, pay-as-you-feel food, using ingredients that would otherwise be destined for the bin. This Christmas, they’ll see even more families in need through their doors, and salvage even more unused or unsold food, and they need your support to keep up the good work. You can help them by making a donation online, giving gift cards to family and friends (every $10 spent feeds two people in need), signing up to volunteer at one of their locations and more. 

SPREAD FESTIVE CHEER

Sonya Wilson’s charity Kiwi Christmas Books has one objective — to ensure that no child goes without literature. We’re all aware of just how essential reading is to the growth and development of young minds, but sadly, books are something that many don’t have access to across New Zealand. Luckily, Kiwi Christmas Books is here to help, rallying New Zealanders who are already in the gift-giving spirit to buy and donate books this Christmas. The charity accepts baby books, picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult and everything in between — even better if they’re by a local author or illustrator. The donation scheme runs until December 14th, so head out to your local independent bookstore and change the Christmas of a deserving Kiwi kid.

FOSTER HOPE

Bringing a little sunshine and hope to New Zealand’s most vulnerable children, Foster Hope collects new, unwrapped Christmas presents for those in care throughout New Zealand, delivering them a gift just in time for Christmas. Sadly, the festive season is a peak time for children needing support from protection agencies and emergency service facilities, so this year, brighten the day of a child in need and donate a present via one of Foster Hope’s drop-off points country-wide. While the official cut-off date for gifts is the 5th of December, the sooner the team can gather gifts, the more time they have to distribute them to social workers around the country, so get shopping!

HELP GET KIDS HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

We all know of the exceptional work Starship does year-round, but at Christmas time their focus is turned to getting as many sick or injured little ones home to their families for the festive period — kids are the beating heart of Christmas, after all. A donation at this time of year goes towards world-class paediatric care, lifesaving treatments, research, and training to ensure the team at Starship are fully equipped to get more kids well enough to make it home. We can’t think of a better cause than that.

KIWIS HELPING KIWIS

Well-versed in making the lives of busy Kiwis easier, this Christmas, My Food Bag is turning their attention to charity — making it easier than ever to lend a helping hand to those doing it tough. The food delivery box is pulling a reverse trick, teaming up with NZ Post to offer donation collections in the lead up to Christmas, dropping any food items donated by generous Kiwis to the Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch City Missions. So, add a few extra items to your trolley during this week’s shop, pop them in an old My Food Bag delivery box, and book a collection — it’s that simple.

GIVE THE GIFT OF SAFETY

It’s heartbreaking to think that domestic violence peaks during the holiday season. While many of us are making Christmas dinner plans and deciding on the perfect gifts for our loved ones, many New Zealanders are simply looking for a safe place to spend the festive season with their families. Women’s Refuge do incredible work in this space, housing women and children subject to domestice violence, and they’ve made it exceptionally simple to support them in doing so, this Christmas and beyond. By donating just $20, you can ensure a safe night for someone experiencing family violence, including a place to stay, hot meals, security, and advice. Gift as many nights as your means will allow, and together we can make sure no New Zealanders are at risk this holiday season.

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