On the 14th of December Bruce Gough put up the Rotary Hutt City Tree of Joy. By the 24th of December 1,754 presents had been donated and distributed to 10 different charities.

Our club members made sure the tree was attended from 9:00am until 10:00pm for 10 straight days. Denise and Stephen Crump, Pastors of the Salvation Army in Lower Hutt, lent space for sorting presents and gave at least 100 hours of their time.

Ganesh Cherian, Club President shares the following. "I had chosen a couple of early slots because work had been busy this year and I wasn't exactly sure of my availability. I thought the mall would be practically empty first thing in the morning and I had resigned myself to an uneventful few hours. I couldn't have been more wrong. People came in droves with presents from the day before, picking tags off the tree and then back with gifts. I collected 40 presents in that first hour, almost one a minute. One lady came with seven presents, and often people who took one tag came back with multiple gifts. I was humbled as I watched a young mother crouch and explain the tree to her young son, and how he responded to her concern and seriousness with determination. It was a wonderful experience".

Thank you to all you generous givers of gifts. Many children will have had an unexpected Christmas blessing this year. I am sure there were hundreds of whispered thank you's to all of you who donated. Your life will be richer for the experience. I know the recipients lives are.