I am constantly awed by the generosity of our community. Working at the Tree of Joy is always an emotional experience. So many give presents for so many different reasons. Yesterday a lady delivered 14 presents. I asked her about her gift and she told me her husband had recently passed away. She didn't want to have Christmas on Christmas Day this year. She wanted to spend it alone without celebrating. This was her Christmas gift - shopping for presents for children who otherwise would not have anything to open on Christmas morning! WOW, what a bittersweet story. Another Mum and her daughter arrived with a Santa sack full.

It is a delight to see children look at the tree and ask about it and then ask their parents if they can buy a present. They come back, present wrapped, tag attached and place it under the tree. Thank you, parents, for allowing your children to give the gift of hope at Christmas. One child lighting up another child's life.

The Queensgate Mall is having a tough time. Many retailers are closed and those that are open say their takings are down by 50 percent. Yet, people are still giving. Thank you, everyone, for your love and generosity. As I had lunch I saw this saying, "If Christmas isn't found in your heart—you won't find it under a tree." Clearly, many of you have found Christmas in your heart and put it under the Tree of Joy.

Rotary Hutt City, on behalf of all the children receiving your gifts, say thank you and we wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas.