The Wellington City Mission and Vinnies Wellington have today opened their new free toy store in Newtown to give struggling families a chance to choose gifts for their kids this Christmas.
Wellington City Missioner Murray Edridge told Breakfast the dignity of choice underpins the concept of the toy store.
"The toy store empowers parents to choose exactly the right gift for their child and wrap it themselves. On Christmas morning, the gift comes from them."
Each shopper is joined by a City Mission or Vinnies Wellington social worker to support them in what can be quite an overwhelming experience.
Social worker Annette Thomas said the free toy store gives families in need the opportunity to shop without the extra financial stress.
"Thank you, Wellington, for donating so much," she said.
To date, $50,000 worth of Christmas toys have been donated to the store.
"The Covid-19 pandemic and the high cost of housing has put even more strain on even more families with Christmas adding yet another layer of pressure," Edridge said.
"What we know about Wellingtonians is that they will help us do this, they will help us meet the need. The generosity so far has been amazing."
The toy store is open until Wednesday, December 22, for families the charities are supporting. Appointments can be made by calling the Wellington City Mission.
Other social agencies are invited to make appointments too.