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Aspleycare continues strong tradition of helping those in need during the Christmas period

Christmas help: Aspleycare volunteers spreading the Christmas spirit (from left) Clive Smith, Fr John Panamthottam, Jo Galvin and Tom Borger with the hampers.

SPONSORS from Bunnings, Ray White and other organisations donned their Santa hats last week at Aspleycare when they packed 100 Christmas hampers for the homeless.

“Our volunteers do all of the pre-work and then the sponsors come in and pack the hampers,” Aspleycare volunteer Clive Smith said. 

“They’ve supported us, so we want to get them to be involved, and they love doing it.”

Sponsors this year included the Rotary Club of Aspley, Share the Dignity and Catholic Women’s League Aspley.

Mr Smith said the community was blessed to have widespread support. 

“We’re very fortunate that we have some tremendous sponsors,” he said. 

“Ray White (Aspley) for example has their Little Ray of Giving program that provides us with food, and this year 500 gifts and toys, as well as money. 

“Bunnings at Carseldine provides us with all the laundry baskets, footballs and Frisbees. 

“They’ve been a great supporter of ours for a number of years. 

“They also give us the opportunity to do sausage sizzles to help us to raise the funds to help with our food on a weekly basis, as well as of course Christmas time.” 

Aspleycare provides emergency relief to more than 4000 people a year in the form of food vouchers and parcels, financial assistance, and medical prescriptions. 

Each Christmas, the organisation, with the help of its sponsors, donates Christmas hampers to a number of local families.

“We see about 1400 families per year, which in fact represents about 4000 children and adults,” Mr Smith said.

“Unfortunately we can’t give out hampers to 1400 families each Christmas, so we try and choose 100 of the most vulnerable or needy, the ones who have come to us for help or support in the last number of months. 

“We try and make sure we give them a great food hamper with festive foods and gifts.” 

For the past 30 years, Aspleycare has received emergency funding from the Federal Government, however, the organisation was informed that as of January 1 it would no longer receive the grant. 

“For 30 years we’ve been getting a government grant, which is around $42,000 per year,” Mr Smith said.

“That helps us for about half of the year and the rest of the time we have to try and raise those funds. 

“Now we’ve found out that going forward our application for a grant hasn’t been successful. 

“For the first time in 30 years we haven’t got the funds.”

Mr Smith said no reason had been given to Aspleycare for the loss of federal funds, and the result would have a ripple effect throughout the community.

“If we don’t get the funding, we’d have to close, or just offer food,” he said. 

“We wouldn’t have sufficient funds to give them assistance for rent, petrol and all the other things we provide. 

“Instead of looking after twenty-seven suburbs, we’ll just look after the (families) who are near us. 

“The sad reality is that those people will fall through the cracks.

 “They won’t be able to get help because there won’t be the support there.”

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