Earlier this year, a man came to the door to inform us that there would be some disturbance going on next door. Apartment units were being constructed for Housing New Zealand and apparently a few of our neighbours were less than impressed that social housing was going up next to their properties. This pervasive attitude is known as NIMBYisim (not in my backyard), whereby someone may not be principally opposed to housing developments, bicycle lanes or public transport infrastructure, schools or playgrounds but simply don’t want them located anywhere near their property. Of course, if everyone held this view, essential public services and infrastructure would never be built and society would collectively be worse off.
We’ve lived in the inner city for nearly two years and are delighted whenever there’s new development in the area. The most vibrant, dynamic cities thrive in spite of NIMBYism, which I aim to explain in my blog post on what makes cities great.
When choosing a charity to support, I looked to issues in my community. What could I offer my city’s most vulnerable? Prior to purchasing our first home, Nick and I lived next door to the Christchurch City Mission. Now merely blocks away, we’re witnessing new social housing units and a women’s shelter popping up right next door.
When I found out about the Christchurch City Mission’s Sunday Lunch, I wanted to get involved. I love food (don’t we all?) and know that access to fresh, nutritious food is a basic human right. I could see the great work the Mission was doing to bring food to those who would otherwise go without. These individuals work tirelessly to support those who need it most. The annual Sunday Lunch is a win-win, offering locals the chance to sample a three-course meal by one of the city’s top chefs. There’s also an auction and entertainment – everyone who’s involved is volunteering their time and skills to the City Mission with all proceeds going back to the community. This year’s lunch raised thousands.
During lunch, Matthew Mark, the Christchurch City Missioner spoke about what a privilege it was to be able to serve the community. Each year, the mission provides a range of services to thousands of people in the community. Yet, it is only through the generosity of the wider community that the work can continue. This paradox stands out as a lens to view what is unfolding in cities across the country. For various reasons, people fall on hard times and require support. Sadly, it’s becoming more common to see this need in our community. In order to make positive change, we need a bit of collective YIMBYisim (yes, in my backyard). To say no to homelessness in our backyard, we need to say yes and be more welcoming and supportive of organisations like the CM.
I used to think I needed to make a certain amount of money or reach a certain age before I could give back in a meaningful way. I’ve since learnt that charity is about awareness and compassion. It’s about acknowledging that it’s a privilege for us to be able to give back to our communities and we can do so in many different ways.
If anything, I hope this inspires you find your cause. Giving is about more than monetary worth, so give your time, your energy, your voice. And if you’re looking for a worthy cause or would like to learn more about the services offered by the Christchurch City Mission, click here.