Our Glen Eden ECE Centre Manager, Ali Render, shares a loving Christmas update below:
Last week, I received an email from Trish at Mt Albert Methodist Church, offering us the leftover donated stock from their recent church garage sale. They wanted the goods to go to a community in need. Trish has a fond background with Lifewise, as her husband Keith Taylor, was the superintendent of MMN, before John Murray.
After picking up 2 carloads of donations from Trish and Mary, who are both very lovely to chat to (they are going to come and visit us at Glen Eden), we had enough to set up a Free Op Shop! We spent some time, sorting and organising, presenting the donations in a way where our whānau would feel valued and worthwhile – not just a big messy pile of clothes to rummage through.
We also had some other donations given to us by external family members, so we combined it all, and made a wide range for the whole whānau – infants to adults, male and female, clothing, bedding and household goods.
We felt this had come at good time of year, when the Christmas stress starts to build, and also a time when living with ‘not much’ can be magnified. It was also a different donation from previous years when we have been able to give out food boxes at Christmas time.
Our ECE Centre was a hive of extra activity this morning, with whānau excited to see the goodies, that were all for them. Most of our families took boxes and boxes of stuff home with them. Nearly every child chose their own books from the pile, and went home with these in their hands, too.
We also are sharing these gifts with our extended Lifewise whānau, with some of the Mana Whanau and Family Services team coming by to ‘shop’ for the families/when they are supporting. We will also continue share the clothing, with our sister centres and with other Lifewise services.
One beautiful thing that has happened is that we have had 4-5 whanau ask if they can bring their extra items in, to add to our collections. This keep the giving going, but also means that people can have sense of contribution, sharing their goodwill and paying it forward.
We have often had donations, and regularly have a sharing table at the front of the centre, but nothing on this scale. It was quite humbling, to create the space for the koha to happen, and to be able to allow for more donations to come in. We made a big difference for whānau today I’m sure. It highlighted to me what ‘giving’ can really look like, and it also showed how much kindness, and aroha we have in our centre. It has also shown me our true centre purpose, and another way we are authentic to our ECE Model of Practice.
Aroha Mai, Aroha Atu. Love received, Love returned.