December 17, 2010

The Season of Goodwill

Posted in Good news stories at 12:57 am by Sue Hine

Whether we celebrate Christmas as a Christian festival or not, we cannot avoid the commercial hype of the season.  The purveyors of good cheer urge us to indulge the spirit of spending up large, so they can stay in business and maybe keep you in a job for the coming year.

It is also the time of year when the good news stories are paraded in the news media.  Here is a sample catalogue of what is on offer beyond wrapping parcels and preparing food for all the visitors, or waiting for the credit card bill.  

  • The Great New Zealand Santa Run happened on Wednesday last week, raising funds for KidsCan.  Around 600 people paid to run a circuit all dressed up in Santa gear for the benefit of disadvantaged kids in low-decile schools. 
  •  In Wellington you can go vote for the best decorated Christmas tree.  This is another fundraiser, and among the 25 you can vote for is the entry from Volunteer Wellington, covered in stars with stories about volunteers who have contributed to the community sector.  
  • “A stitch in time for Christmas” is the theme for a bunch of Wellington quilters who have given their creative endeavours to children in hospital and to the neo-natal unit. 
  • There are plenty of opportunities to open my cheque-book instead of buying things to put under the Christmas Tree.  I can buy a goat, some school-books, a training course for farmers, or three ducks, or some trees – all in the name of international aid to people who need a leg-up, rather than a hand-out. 
  • Then there is the Goodwill Express.  Kiwi Rail is collecting donations for the Salvation Army’s foodbank.  You don’t have to be a passenger – just bring along your non-perishable food items to any station along the way.   
  • Gen Z is introduced to volunteering.  School-kids are out carolling at Rest Homes and Hospitals.  Or they are participating in the Love Your Coast campaign, helping at a clean-up on our beaches.  Decked out in sunhats and gloves, they are bringing in huge bags of shore-line detritus, and maybe learning to care for their environment.   
  • The true spirit of Christmas is evident in the massive organisation of dinners for people who live alone, who cannot enjoy the togetherness of a family gathering.  Many people who are not regular volunteers offer their time and energies at this time.

In these examples I have mixed up volunteering with philanthropy, the business of donating money.  Purists will declare giving money is absolutely not out of the same box as volunteering.  True – but is it not the spirit of giving – your time and skills, or your hard cash – that underlies both philanthropy and volunteering? 

I am off-air now until mid-January.  That’s Happy New Year time, and an opportunity to face the reality of resolutions!


  1. Alison said,

    Happy Christmas and well deserved bloggers break to you Sue. Thanks for all you Volunary work in providing us with great food for thought-you are a real star!


    • Sue Hine said,

      To you Alison, and to all readers – best wishes for a great holiday season, wherever you may be. Thanks for your interest in management of volunteers.


  2. DJ Cronin said,

    Have a wonderful break Sue. I look forward to more of your blogging in the New Year and hope to catch up with you in person in May !


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