NEW toys, vouchers and food hampers have been provided to families across the Limestone Coast, Riverland and Murraylands, including hundreds of children who will wake up to something special on Christmas day, thanks to broad community support.
“We are grateful for the many community appeals to help us support vulnerable people this Christmas after the number of people registering for assistance has increased, with many impacted by job losses and other pressures due to COVID-19,” ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said.
More than 190 families, including hundreds of children, received gifts distributed at the Mount Gambier Community Centre thanks to support from across the community, including the Mount Gambier Mayor’s Community Christmas Appeal, Mount Gambier Family Truck Show and many businesses that hosted giving trees, together with churches, schools, service clubs and individuals.
Gifts distributed at the centre were lovingly packed into Christmas sacks made and donated by the Pine Tree Quilters, adding a creative festive flair to the appeal.
A joint agencies appeal in Murray Bridge supported more than 230 families, including hundreds of children, with Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge Marketplace and BIG W customers among many significant and diverse contributors to appeals in both regions.
Clients registered with ac.care also benefited from appeals in the Riverland.
Connie and her daughter were among hundreds of people to collect hampers for their children and grandchildren at ac.care's Mount Gambier Community Centre in the lead-up to Christmas.
Connie said she had relied on JobSeeker after being made redundant, but said there was increased pressure on people with limited incomes at Christmas.
“It has been a struggle going from having a long-term job for many years to being unemployed, but ac.care has helped, initially with emergency housing when we returned to Mount Gambier to be close to family and throughout the past year when we have needed assistance with food and other support,” she said.
“This place is lovely with people who are not judgemental and go out of their way to help you however they can, especially at Christmas time, which is tough without a wage.”
Meanwhile, the Mount Gambier and District Community Bank, Lions clubs across the regions, Good360 Australia and other supporters, including diverse businesses, helped ac.care provide extra toys for children in foster and residential care at Christmas, along with special cakes as a gift of gratitude from the community to dedicated foster carers.
“Thank you to each and every person in the community who has helped us extend the spirit of giving during the festive season to make Christmas brighter for people in our communities facing challenges at this time of year,” Mr Maddocks said.
“It is truly appreciated and makes a difference by reminding vulnerable people they are valued at this time of year and that support is available, while helping families extend their budget to cover essential costs and not miss out on having gifts for their children and something special for the table at Christmas – thank you from us all at ac.care.”
Online donations to accare.org.au/donate also boosted ac.care’s support to vulnerable people at Christmas and helped increase the agency’s impact throughout the year.