Wed, Dec 20, 2023 8:00 AM

Santa’s Salvation Army early delivery


William Woodworth

Hundreds of donated presents have turned Salvation Army’s Blenheim headquarters into Santa’s Grotto – with some help from kind hearted locals.

Families who need an extra bit of help to make Christmas special benefited from generous donations to help make this the season of giving.

Blenheim Salvation Army Corps staff helped spread Christmas cheer to children of all ages and their families, bringing a touch of sparkle and magic to the festive season.

The presents are the result of a huge collective effort of many different local organisations who collected gifts for the special project.

Significant present collections came courtesy of Roadhouse Breakfast, Kmart, and general donations from members of the public.

Grotto visitor Katie Shortland says she is delighted to have had some help bringing holiday joy to her home.

“Technically I’m not sure my kids would get Christmas presents or dinner this year, and without the Salvation Army there’s lots of families in the same situation across the region,” she says.

“I still have some presents to get, but I’ve been eyeing up some remote-control toys, sports balls and arts stuff like a dreamcatcher kit to give the kids activities as presents.”

Salvation Army’s Bridget Nolan and gift receiver Katie Shortland. Photo: William Woodworth.

“It’s really lovely to have options to pick, it’s almost too much choice and you get overwhelmed, but Bridget and the Salvation Army team are blessings to have here all year around.”

Fellow recipient Rochelle Tasi was just as thankful for the efforts of donators to help her family have a magical Christmas.

“We’ve been financially struggling this year with family bereavements, so having a food parcel and presents has just been amazing.

“It’s honestly so good for us - the kids will be getting arts and crafts, painting equipment and Lego.

“I have four kids with one having Autism that loves Lego, and there were plenty of options of just Lego to choose from let alone other toys.

“I was eyeing up a solar powered robot but it looked a bit too technical for the kids so that might be something for next year, but it’s also really nice to see they have gifts for older children”.

“The Salvation Army has left our house feeling very blessed for Christmas this year.”

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