‘Worries erased’ after family receives gifts from Wellington City Mission

Published on Stuff.co.nz by Mandy Te, December 24, 2019. Photo:

When Leighann Oldridge​ opened her door on Christmas Eve, the first thing she said was “oh my God”.

Three boxes of gifts and food for her three daughters and herself were being carried into her home.

On Christmas Eve families with little to spare on holiday treats were given some early presents. 

Wellington City Mission staff loaded up vans with more than 100 boxes to give to families struggling to make ends meet.

When Mission staff along with members of Wellington Firebirds and Wellington Phoenix FC arrived with gifts, Oldridge, a solo mum, said she really felt the Christmas spirit.

Her daughters, 11-year-old Renae and twins Hannah and Isobel, 8, were given sports gear, toys, crafts, headphones, a bike and a scooter. 

The family also received a box full of food and a leg of ham. 

“I’m really happy and ecstatic … it has put me at peace,” she said. “It’s just incredible and all I can say is thank you.”

She had been worried about Christmas especially since she was unsure if they could stay at their Trentham home. 

In the lead up, Oldridge had been looking at eight to 10 houses but was struggling to line anything up.

However, she recently learnt the family could stay on at their current house and with the hampers from Wellington City Mission – “all of a sudden, my worries have been erased”, she said.

“It’s going to be a good day tomorrow.”

Oldridge will be celebrating Christmas with her daughters and friends – and she will be bringing the leg of ham to their lunch. 

Her  family was one of more than 100 families who received hampers from the Wellington City Mission on Tuesday.

Mission staff woke up bright and early, gathering at its Newtown headquarters before heading off to deliver gifts. 

The charity gives out hampers every year, giving boxes to families in Hutt Valley, Petone, Miramar and Trentham. 

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