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Vinnies to open a ‘festive toy shop’ for families in need

The St Vincent de Paul Society Wellington is looking to provide a retail-like experience for families in need, with the ability to choose from donated gifts and wrap them using upcycled paper as part of its ‘A Merry Vinnies Christmas’ campaign.

The campaign provides a shopping-style experience for families seeking help over the holiday period, with the aim of providing dignity, ownership and choice.

“The old saying goes ‘Christmas is the time for giving’,” Vinnies marketing manager Millie Lambess said. 

“Let’s go a step further and make sure this ‘giving’ puts the dignity and mana of our community whānau first.”

As part of the campaign, which first launched last year, the Vinnies Welfare and Services hub in Newtown, Wellington, will be redecorated to look like a festive toy shop, offering unwrapped, donated gifts for children aged 0 to 16 for selection.

Gifts will be categorised as being worth either one, two, or three tokens, with each child able to claim three tokens’ worth of gifts, giving flexibility in how a family wishes to support their children.

“This encourages people to think, as they would in a retail shop, about the person they are giving to,” Vinnies said in a statement. 

A gift wrap station will also be available to further personalise gifts to the recipient.

According to Vinnies, last year saw 256 children from 81 individuals and families receive gifts through the service.

“What numbers can’t capture is the warm atmosphere and genuine excitement that filled the Vinnies hubv in the lead up to Christmas,” Vinnies said. 

The charity organisation is asking for the support of the Wellington community, requesting the donation of gifts appropriate for 0 to 16 year olds, in an unwrapped, near-new state, by 28 November. 

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