“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” – Muhammad Ali
Muhammad, we couldn’t agree more. Volunteering is incredibly rewarding, and there’s no better time to get involved with a local charity than Christmas. New Zealand knows a thing or two about throwing Christmas Day festivities, so if you’re thinking of lending a helping hand check out our list and see what’s happening in your local area.
Aro Valley Community Centre Wellington
For decades the Aro Valley Community Centre has been throwing one of Wellington’s best loved Christmas lunches. This includes 15 kilograms of turkey, 30 kilograms of corned beef, 200 chicken drumsticks, four hams and mountains of potatoes, carrots and peas.
We’re heard on the grapevine that SPCA is always looking for dedicated volunteers. Animals require round the clock care and Christmas Day is no exception. If you love four legged friends and want to spend December 25 surrounded by wagging tails this could be just the ticket.
Auckland City Mission
Catering to around 2000 people, the annual Auckland City Mission Christmas Day Lunch is a fantastic way to bring a deeper sense of giving to the festive season. The event relies on the generosity of more than 450 volunteers, so why not get involved?
Christchurch City Mission
Another huge event, this one serves up Christmas lunch to around 700 people. Want to know more about how to get involved? Head over to their website to be part of this heart (and belly) warming event.
Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner
Now run by the Acts of Kindness Charitable Trust, the annual Dunedin Community Christmas Dinner perfectly captures the spirit of the festive season. Open to anyone and everyone, this lively event is all about good food, good company and good vibes.
Christmas Dinner with the Hamilton Salvation Army
Every year around 150 people stream into the Hamilton Salvation Army HQ to enjoy a piping hot Christmas Day lunch. The response is overwhelming, with Salvation Army Corps Officer and Community Ministries Director Ross Gower commenting that in the past he’s had to turn away volunteers. While they may already be full, there’s no harm in asking if you can lend a hand.
Mayor’s Christmas Dinner in Nelson
While it’s now held on December 21, the annual Mayor’s Christmas Dinner has a special place in the hearts of Nelson locals. Attended primarily by Nelson’s elderly residents, the dinner plays an important role in bringing together the community and making sure everyone gets to enjoy that warm fuzzy Christmas cheer.
St Peters Free Christmas Dinner Tauranga
From young solo travellers to widows and homeless gents, the St Peters Free Christmas Dinner has been running for almost 30 years. If you want to get involved reach out to Rev Simon McLeay.
Your own backyard
One of the absolute easiest ways to make a difference this Christmas is to simply be aware of people in your local community. Perhaps you live next door to someone who’ll be spending Christmas along. Or maybe you chat to a single mum with a newborn over the fence. Whether you invite them to join your family dinner (the more the merrier!) or simply drop by with a mince pie in the morning, gestures like this can work wonders for spreading Christmas cheer. And of course, combating the feelings of loneliness and isolation that unfortunately go hand in hand with Christmas for some people.
Already have plans for Christmas Day? You can still get involved by donating in advance. From food and decorations to Christmas crackers and small gifts, a little thought goes a long way.
Do you have a Christmas Day volunteering event we should know about? We’d love to hear about it!