More than 60 volunteers packed 500 hampers for local families in need this festive season which were distributed through charities as part of the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal.
The community hamper packing day was undertaken on Tuesday 12 December at the Bundaberg Recreation Precinct.
The hampers were filled to the brim with Christmas day essentials for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus extras – from custard and jam to snacks and candy canes – all decorated with a handmade Christmas decoration courtesy of local group Blanket Buddies.
Volunteers were aged two to 80-plus and all worked together to make short work of packing the hampers.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said the generosity of the community was incredible from the individuals and businesses who had sponsored the appeal to the dozens of volunteers who joined the packing effort.
“The spirit of Christmas is certainly alive and well and it’s in the smiles and the hampers that are being prepared here today for 500 families in need,” Mayor Dempsey said.
This year the number of hampers provided increased by 200, with 300 provided last year.
“Big thank you to all the volunteers – our youngsters and our young at heart – here, helping out and understanding the importance of giving at Christmas.
“What will happen, at the end of the day, is the Christmas appeal will be able to facilitate, take a little bit of pressure off our charities during the Christmas period and they’ll be able to come here, pick them up and go out to those families and individuals needing a hamper this Christmas.
“It’s a wonderful occasion – there’s a lot of joy in everyone’s heart.”
Volunteer Kim Gidall said she was enjoying her second year of packing hampers.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Kim said.
“Bundaberg is a wonderful city, I love Bundaberg.
“At the moment people have been doing it a bit rough and this is a way that – other than giving financially – this is a way I can actually give back my time to the community.
“I think if everyone gave back a little bit of time to the community it would be an even better community.”
St Vincent de Paul Childers St Joseph’s Conference President Trish Clutterbuck attended the day representing one of the local charities distributing the hampers.
“It’s wonderful to see all of the people coming together from all agencies – and none – to support everyone,” Trish said.
“I love the comradery of the place. It’s very good.”
She said there had been a jump in the number of local people seeking help this year.
“We have chosen the recipients; some people phone in or come in, others we have a list of people we’ve assisted throughout the year and quite a number of them when we do give them assistance they ask can they get a hamper at Christmas time.
“They are always very grateful.
“We’ve had some people who have had assistance who can come back and help in the future which is nice.”
Find out more about the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal and register to stay up to date with plans for 2024 at the project page.