As the school term draws to a close and Christmas holidays loom in the eyes of parents across the country, a single mother, Catherine*, is taking her youngest daughter to playgroup at BCS Warilla North Community Centre, just south of Wollongong.
With four children aged between 5 and 14, Catherine struggles to afford even basic necessities, let alone anything extra for Christmas. Life in general isn’t easy; her oldest son has a mental illness, she has no car, and the idea of shopping for Christmas treats and goodies that she can’t afford is overwhelming. As is the guilt of knowing her children are missing out, even just a little bit.
That morning at play group, the Coordinator places into her arms a hamper she can only just carry, filled with items that Catherine would never consider putting in her own trolley at the supermarket.
Relieved and grateful, some of the dread in Catherine’s heart is replaced with joy this Christmas.
Every year since 2001, BCS has provided Christmas hampers to some of our most disadvantaged and isolated clients through the dedicated men of Sercom.
This group of BCS volunteers have worked tirelessly to raise funds, shop, pack and distribute a little bag of Christmas cheer to thousands of BCS’ disadvantaged clients who might otherwise not receive a Christmas gift, or who can’t afford a special meal at this festive time of year.
After 37 years of faithful service to BCS, the men of Sercom retired earlier this year. Despite the loss of these wonderful volunteers, BCS is determined to continue Sercom’s Christmas hamper tradition and so we have enlisted the aid of Foodbank Australia to supply hampers for our clients this year.
Foodbank Australia is a not- for- profit, non-denominational organisation that sources
and then distributes food and grocery industry donations to welfare agencies who feed the hungry. BCS will buy pre-packed hampers from Foodbank, and our staff will personally deliver the hampers to our clients in early December.
As Foodbank Australia receives donated items directly from grocery suppliers, this year BCS are not asking our supporters to donate food or goods for the hampers. Instead, we are seeking financial donations to cover the cost of the hampers through our Christmas Hamper Appeal.
Each hamper will cost $20.00 to buy and deliver, and over 800 Christmas hampers will be needed for our most disadvantaged clients. Our aim in giving hampers to our clients who are living on the margins of society is to bless them practically with food and gifts at Christmas time.
We also long for them to know Jesus, so we will be including a Christmas card with each hamper. The cards are produced by Crossover Australia, providing a simple yet powerful message of God’s love for each person.
The Christmas Card distributed with every hamper this year reads:
“You matter to God! At Christmas we celebrate God’s incredible love for all people, seen in the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas reminds us that we are not alone in this world. It points us to the possibilities of a life of hope and meaning – found in relationship with God – a God who loves and cares for us like no other. Here is the reason to truly celebrate this Christmas. Happy Christmas!”
You can give some Christmas joy to someone who needs it, by donating to our Christmas Hamper Appeal. Just $20 will provide a hamper for a person or family who’s struggling to make ends meet.
*names have been changed.