Generosity lights up Christmas in the Park2 min readReading Time: 2 minutes
Christmas at Jellicoe Park was a bit different this year, with council budget cuts leaving the big Norfolk pine without its traditional lights. The park was still sparkling on the night with smaller tealights, though what most lit up the hearts of the hosts was the community generosity to the food bank collection.
This year, people donated cans of food to the Salvation Army in exchange for a battery-powered tealight candle, which were perfect for lighting up the crowd when Santa visited later in the evening. The food donations were gratefully accepted by the Royal Oak Salvation Army Community Ministries, with the team needing to get extra crates later in the night to transport all the donations.
Team member Felicia Muliaina, says they have many families struggling with food scarcity, who need help this time of year, and they’re lucky to have people able to make donations to help those “a little more vulnerable.”
Felicia is part of the Royal Oak Community Ministries, and says they operate a pātakai kai outside the front of their premises on Mt Albert Road, where people can drop off food, and those in need can take what they need. The church also accepts food donations too, from which they make up food parcels.
People can also donate online at foodbank.org.nz. Royal Oak Baptist Church has been involved in the Jellicoe Park event for 20 years, and Reverend Hamish Baxter says it’s an event he loves being part of.
“It’s a wonderful community atmosphere, and just so much joy. It’s a privilege being involved.”
Chair of the Local Board, Maria Meredith says, “We’ve been hearing some disappointment that the tree wasn’t lit up this year and we appreciate it wasn’t quite the same. However, we wanted to change up the event to make it more impactful by giving back to those less fortunate.
“It’s no secret our budget was limited this year, but it was more meaningful by lighting up the event for others to benefit.”