News > Spreading Christmas cheer with kai and aroha

Spreading Christmas cheer with kai and aroha

Last Updated: December 2017

Kaiāwhina Kim Marshall and Maxine Reriti took on the role of Santa Claus today - minus the suits, white hair & big tummy!

The pair joined forces with Karen Lende from Kai & Aroha (pictured above, in middle) to distribute gifts and food to five whānau in need of Christmas cheer.

Karen Lende set up Kai & Aroha more than a year ago, and works around North Taranaki to help people in need.

Maxine and Kim headed out with Karen, surprising the five whānau who knew Tui Ora was visiting - but didn't know the details. Karen had teamed a sponsor whānau up with a whānau needing support and the three ladies came bearing wrapped presents and food for the Christmas table.

Kim says the response was fantastic. Kids wanted to know which wrapped gift belonged to them and adults felt a little less of the stress associated with this time of the year.

"The whole idea is to give some hope," says Maxine before she headed out with Santa hat on and Christmas lights strung around her neck.

The whānau deal with a number of issues, not least the financial pressure of providing some presies for their children.

Next year she's keen to see a Tui Ora Christmas tree that kaimahi can place gifts under for those who need it.

Te Korimako O Taranaki, the local Māori radio station, is already backing Kai & Aroha with a bake stall at Taranaki Punanga earlier in the year enabling it to buy gifts.

Kai & Aroha was created by Karen and is promoted through a Facebook page with its only funding coming from a Give a Little page. It is always in need of volunteers and pick up points. See its FB page for more.

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