News Release

Helping Kiwis in Tough Times This Christmas

Sir Michael Jones: “COVID has thrown a curveball hard on our society and community. But through adversity comes opportunity and hope."

After another challenging year, many New Zealanders are facing a Christmas and New Year with dwindling food, savings and hope.

Thankfully, New Zealand has many excellent charitable organisations, but high demand has put pressure on their resources.

In an effort to lend a hand to the New Zealand charity sector, Latter-day Saint Charities is making donations this month to eight Kiwi charities as we approach a high demand part of the year.

Elder Ian S. Ardern, Pacific Area President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as well as Elder Glenn Burgess and Elder Allistair Odgers, and other Church representatives, are visiting the charities in the days leading up to Christmas in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch.

Elder Glenn Burgess spent some time on Thursday with Sir Michael Jones, former All Black rugby player and founder of the Village Community Services Trust.

Sir Michael said: “COVID has thrown a curveball hard on our society and community. But through adversity comes opportunity and hope. We want to give hope to the people we serve.”

He added, “When someone walks in, they become part of our village and it takes a village to really help people. And our village is linked across the city. This is only possible because of the aroha (love) of the wider community. It works because of the generosity and goodwill of Kiwis, their sense of charity and compassion and goodness, particularly in tough times. Thank you for this wonderful gift.”

Elder Burgess noted Sir Michael's focus on faith and helping others. “When you were playing rugby," Elder Burgess said, "you let God prevail in your life and decided not to play on Sundays. What you are doing here is a manifestation of your faith in God. We want to recognize you and how you have put Jesus Christ first in your life by serving others.”

Latter-day Saint Charities is the humanitarian arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The donations are made possible by the generous giving of members and friends of the Church here and overseas.

The donations will support the dedicated work of staff and volunteers at Hutt City Women’s Refuge; Village Community Trust; Auckland City Mission; BBM Motivation Ltd; Salvation Army New Zealand; Serve Trust; De Paul House; and the Christchurch City Mission.


On Wednesday, BBM CEO Dave Letele said, “Our why is that its always about the people and when we saw a need during lockdown, we filled it with this foodbank. We try to empower people through education and give them good healthy food and show them how to use it. We had faith God and He always finds a way to help us. This donation is just that.”

Fuatino Laban, head of administration at BBM, said, “Being able to see the same families every day, we can watch the impact that our work has on people and the change that it creates. I am so proud to be part of this project.”

Elder Glenn Burgess added: "During each Christmas season we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and there is no better way to show our love and appreciation to Him, than to do the things He did, especially helping those around us who are experiencing tough times.”

“As we do this, together, we ‘Light the World with Love’ — His light, and His love.”

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