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Milford Foundation’s $501,000 Donation Aims To Bring Christmas Cheer

Press Release – Milford Foundation

A $501,000 donation to three Auckland community organisations will provide struggling families with essential support and some good cheer at Christmas time after a very challenging year shaped by the pandemic, says Milford Foundation chief executive …

A $501,000 donation to three Auckland community organisations will provide struggling families with essential support and some good cheer at Christmas time after a very challenging year shaped by the pandemic, says Milford Foundation chief executive Bryce Marsden.

Manukau Urban Māori Authority; public health provider the Fono’s Feleoko Food-Hub; and West Auckland-based The Village Community Services Trust will each receive $167,000 from the Foundation to help them continue to provide food parcels for families in need.

This latest support follows similar grants totalling $240,000 made by the Milford Foundation in September and October.

“The money we are providing these organisations will fund food parcels and other support at an important time of year when many of us are making the usual Christmas plans,” Marsden said.

“Demand has increased significantly, reflecting the economic and other pressure caused by the pandemic.

“In the whole of 2020 the Fono distributed just over 7,000 food parcels, but since Auckland went back into a hard lockdown in mid-August that figure has skyrocketed to over 30,000 – and counting.”

After the Milford Foundation’s first round of donations in September, chairperson and founding trustee of the Village Community Services Trust Sir Michael Jones said his organisation was fielding requests for help “from people and families we have never seen before or expected to see”.

Sir Michael is clear on how the Foundation’s latest donation, just a few weeks out from Christmas, will help the families his trust works with.

“We are putting together a really neat outreach initiative that makes the most of the most generous and amazing financial support from the Milford Foundation.

“We’re partnering with like-minded organisations, such as kindergartens and Kōhanga Reo, to reach into our most vulnerable homes with food and Christmas presents for the most deserving of whānau. I know they really need a lift and hope, and some meaningful Christmas cheer,” says Sir Michael.

The Fono’s chief executive Tevita Funaki says his team will use the Milford Foundation’s donation to create personalised Christmas gift packs for families facing severe hardship.

“The need will be different for each family and we will do our best to personalise each gift pack.

“Our overwhelming aim is to share some Christmas cheer with families from across Auckland that would otherwise not have any special treats this year and put smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts. It’s been an extremely hard year for them,” says Mr Funaki.

Kaiwhakahaere Matua (CEO) at the Manukau Urban Māori Authority, Wyn Osborne (pakeha), says the Milford Foundation’s support will help marae to provide food, hygiene and grocery essentials to whānau affected by the isolation and health impacts of the pandemic.

“The number of whānau needing support is in the many thousands, and that’s why we are supporting Taumata Korero, a network of marae and Māori health providers across Tāmaki Makarau.

“Some marae are well set up to organise and distribute help, but others are more challenged for various resourcing and other reasons.

“But thanks to the Milford Foundation’s financial assistance, our organisation and our partners have been able to directly support these marae, and the whānau they connect with,” says Wyn Osborne.

Bryce Marsden said the Milford Foundation would continue to provide targeted relief for cases of urgent need while also establishing long-term partnerships with selected charities involved in youth, education, and the environment.

“Our focus is about investing in the future,” Marsden said.

“But creating the type of tomorrow that we want for this country starts with fixing today’s problems and helping out where we see a need. That’s what these organisations are trying to do too, and that’s why the Milford Foundation is committed to supporting them.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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