Church volunteers pack Christmas boxes

Christmas Box co-ordinator Jason Sargeant nestles among some of the completed boxes wrapped and...
Christmas Box co-ordinator Jason Sargeant nestles among some of the completed boxes wrapped and ready to be shipped out. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Fifty volunteers from Dunedin churches spent the first two days of summer cooped up inside packing Christmas food boxes for Otago families.

Volunteers from Equippers Church Dunedin and Arise Church gathered on Saturday morning to box up food parcels for Otago families in need.

The 50 volunteers boxed up a total of 680 food parcels containing dry goods such as flour, noodles, rice, biscuits, UHT milk, baked beans and the all-important scorched almonds.

The boxes contain enough staples to feed a family of six and the goods are given by various organisations in Dunedin and wider New Zealand, and from Life Church in Auckland.

Christmas Box co-ordinator Jason Sargeant said it was the people that made it all happen.

"The day’s gone great, and it was so good seeing the boxes go out to different groups and go out to the community.

"The idea is for the boxes to go to families who have the need. They go to the different organisations in Dunedin because they know the communities and people way better than we do."

The food parcels were distributed to many organisations in Dunedin, such as Presbyterian Support Otago, Women’s Refuge and many others, he said.

Arise and Equippers churches had packed boxes for the past four or five years, but Life Church had been running the initiative since it started in 2001, Mr Sargeant said.

The Christmas Box initiative is a nationwide event that has grown to be the country’s largest Christmas charity.

The initiative is set to break its packing record, with about 45,000 parcels to be packed for families all across New Zealand.

Delivery day for the boxes is December 9.