- Publish Date
- Monday, 20 March 2017, 8:18AM
A Tauranga couple decided to forgo wedding gifts, instead asking their guests for a donation for the Tauranga Moana Night Shelter.
The couple were gifted just over $2000 for the shelter and said they already had plenty of household appliances and cutlery sets.
"We want to go forward in life as a couple who help others and what better way than to start our marriage like that," the man, who wished to remain anonymous, said.
"There's heaps of people doing it pretty hard in Tauranga. They've gone through a hard time and there's a lot of reasons why they live on the streets . . . we need to help the most downtrodden in our society, right in front of us," he said.
The couple gave their guests notice, asking them to bring cash donations to the wedding instead of the usual wedding gifts. At the wedding there was a cash box and a blackboard with the shelter's bank account number for online transactions.
The groom had volunteered at the shelter when it first got started and it was close to his heart, seeing and experiencing the stories of the men forced to find shelter there.
"We both have jobs and are pretty lucky, with family to fall back on if times got tough but a lot of people have burned bridges and don't have anywhere to go."
The couple said it was easy and encouraged other couples to do something similar at their weddings.
The Tauranga Moana Night Shelter had overnight accommodation for homeless men.
Manager of the shelter Annamarie Angus said the donation was amazing and it would make a world of difference to the men who came through the shelter's doors.
"People come in with no money at all and they often need to see a doctor or have no ID on them."
The money would go towards helping the men with such things and could sponsor a bed night for a homeless man, which costs $15.
Donations were important to the running of the shelter.
Ms Angus said women and children were a priority when it came to homelessness but there were a lot of vulnerable men needing help.
Donations helped them get back on their feet and showed them there was hope and there were people who cared.
Ms Angus said anyone could sponsor a bed night, either a one off $15 or a weekly, monthly donation.