The Cook family of Kaden, Riley, Declan, Fletcher and Addisyn shows the new generation are keyed into Christmas giving. They groceries the brought to McKnight and Brown for the Spirit Army Christmas hamper weren’t simply taken from the pantry at home, they had to earn them as Kaden explains: (Video below)
The public are welcome to follow the Cook’s lead and bring nonperishable goods, vouchers, cash or cheques to McKnight and Brown at 30 Esk St to go into the Spirit Army’s Christmas hampers for the 24 families they support.
“Donations will take a huge weight of families at a time of year that can be the worst for struggling families – there’s the added pressure from estranged partners, the need to do something special on Christmas at the expense of the days following, and loneliness too as solo parents who have had the main charge of children suddenly on the day of days are without them,” said Gerry Forde who facilitates the Spirit Army.
Donating is a win/win – to give is one of the most satisfying feelings we have as humans, and to receive something out of the blue reinforces for battling families that they are not alone, that things can go right and there is light at the end of the tunnel, said Forde.
He remembers last year a young lad sorting past all the chocolates and luxury items in his family hamper and exploding with excitement at the sight of a toothbrush and toothpaste.
Young Kaden Cook is one of the youngest Spirit Army soldiers and helps with the weekly veggie packs to families.
Parents Jamie and Rachel Cook are doing a fantastic job as parents, exposing their children to empathy and positive community action from a young age – the future is bright for Southland, said Forde.
The Spirit Army works alongside 24 families in South Invercargill, helping them manage their way through the many challenges of modern life with a combination of empathy and practical help to build self-belief and confidence.
Earlier this year former Prime Minister Bill English praised the Spirit Army for its personalised respectful approach to families.
For those who cannot get into McKnight and Brown, donations can be made using the entry “Christmas Hamper” to Spirit Army account – 031369 0240404 00
The collection runs till Wed 20 December and hampers will be distributed to families the following day.
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