HUNDREDS of country South Australians received a much-needed dose of Christmas cheer this festive season thanks to strong support for annual community appeals.
Despite ongoing increases to the cost of living, the generosity of our country communities shone through as food, toys, vouchers and other goods were distributed to people in need throughout the Murraylands, Riverland and Limestone Coast.
Over 700 toys and 510 hampers were handed out as part of the Riverland Christmas Appeal, with ac.care staff volunteering at distribution days held throughout the region.
The community also rallied behind the annual Murraylands Christmas Appeal, held in conjunction with The Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul and the Rural City of Murray Bridge.
The combined effort results in 180 applicants receiving support, including 140 Murraylands families who received toys as well as vouchers.
Meanwhile, the Mount Gambier Community Centre’s Christmas Cheer initiative received generous support from diverse donors that benefited over 250 applicants seeking help over the festive season.
A significant donation of $25,000 as part of the Mount Gambier Mayor’s Christmas Appeal underpinned the annual initiative, which also received support from local businesses, school, churches, charity partner Good360, other organisations and the Limestone Coast community.
This donation made a meaningful impact to the support provided to over 250 applicants over the festive period, which included food, vouchers and gifts.
“Christmas can be a difficult period for families who struggle on a daily basis to provide the most basic needs for their children so this additional support helps to ease the pressures experienced by these households,” ac.care Christmas Cheer coordinator Deanne Swift said.
“We handed out over 150 bags of toys and had all staff on board, running around trying to help anyone who came in,” Deanne said.
“Everyone was just so grateful and we saw a lot of tears and gave a lot of hugs.
“Thank you to the community for donating to the Mayor’s Christmas Appeal or direct to ac.care, it helped so much.
“Every dollar went out to the community to help those who needed our assistance this year.”
Among those to receive support from the Christmas Cheer initiative were Rob and Jo, who were looking forward to Christmas celebrations with their extended family.
“We have a blended family so we celebrate Christmas over two days with children and grandchildren,” Rob said.
“That’s two Christmas dinners and two Christmas lunches so this extra support helps us a lot with buying groceries,” he said.
Jo said the inclusion of toys, biscuits and other items would help add to the special time.
“We have all the main gifts and food sorted but now we have some stocking fillers to help out, plus the vouchers will help get us through the few weeks over Christmas,” she said.
“This definitely makes Christmas so much easier for us.
“We are so grateful, they’re wonderful down here (at the community centre).”
ac.care is grateful for the contributions made by our country communities to help us support people experiencing hardship. If you would like to learn more about how you can support ac.care, visit our donate page or contact us.