Bringing Hope to the Table - Paul Cato


Christmas Box provides that ray of hope that can change someone’s current life perspective.

Maybe the most common definition of a legacy is something very valuable that a person leaves to the next generation; a gift intended to have a positive effect on the receiver. It might be something a parent leaves for their family, or it could even be something of significance left to a city, a country - or a civilisation!

An amazing legacy was left to the people of Auckland by Sir John Logan Campbell in 1912. Most obvious is the huge city landscape we know as Cornwall Park, but there’s a lot more. Even after more than a hundred years his legacy continues to fund new education and anti-poverty initiatives, impacting new generations.

A legacy could also be an inspirational idea, a medical breakthrough or an invention that impacts generations. A lifetime of study and diligent work can produce a legacy that a person is proud to leave to others. But a legacy isn’t always so positive.

People can leave a legacy to their families that are unhelpful, unwanted, or even detrimental. And legacies like this can be passed on before someone dies. Throughout their lives people can be unwittingly producing, and handing over a legacy of negativity based on an ideology of poverty or a value system of dysfunction.

This is where a project like Christmas Box can have such an impact. In New Zealand over 300 community organisations identify families with the greatest needs and deliver Christmas Boxes to them. Many of these families struggle a long time to break the cycle of a negative legacy. Each year many stories confirm that a Christmas Box delivered to a family just before Christmas has had a profoundly positive effect. Time after time we hear that a family was “not going to have Christmas” - but now they could. Or a Christmas Box arrived “at the perfect moment” after some extremely bad news, which changes circumstances for the family.

With an injection of hope, negative legacies can be intercepted, hijacked, and turned around. Christmas Box provides that ray of hope that can change someone’s current life perspective. That’s why it’s such an exciting journey to be involved with Christmas Box. It’s not just the enormity of packing and distributing over 300 tonnes of groceries at Christmas. It’s thinking about that sparkle in so many eyes when they open those boxes; and the flash of a smile, and the glimmer of hope when they realise that someone, somewhere, cared enough for them! Providing Christmas Boxes for people such as these is a legacy.

Paul Cato
Christmas Box Coordinator
LIFE Community

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