ONE hundred hampers stocked with food, home and hygiene products and Christmas goodies were handed to 80 struggling families on Brisbane’s northside just in time for Christmas thanks to a long-running initiative by Aspleycare.
This year was Jo Galvin’s third year volunteering in packing and distributing the Christmas hampers and she said a hamper made a significant difference for a lot of people.
“The joy on their faces when they come and they see the gifts as well as the food is fantastic,” she said.
“Some people have tears, they cry, and some people walk here because they have no means of transport and when they see how big the hampers are, they can’t carry it home so if they’re not too far away we’ll sort that out for them.
“Especially we have older people, grandparents who are caring for children if … the parents are out of the picture, for them they’re looking after four or five children and for them it makes a huge difference to get some special Christmas food and gifts for the kids at Christmas time.”
The initiative had input and donations from Ray White, Aspley Hornets, Rotary and Fitstop and Ms Galvin said it was great to see the volunteers from these organisations bringing along their kids to help stock the hampers.
“I like seeing families bring their own children to come and help pack the hampers,” she said.
“We’re obviously very fortunate but we’re doing something for people less fortunate so for me, I love seeing them bring their children and they’re so keen to do it; they know they’re helping someone living under different circumstances than them.”
The impact of the pandemic had been felt even at Aspleycare where food donations were slightly down and there was uncertainty about whether the initiative could even go ahead.
“But we managed to do it and if you walk around you can see the baskets are full, so even though we may have slightly less food, all of these hampers will be full,” Ms Galvin said.
She said it was great to be able to hand out toys and gifts to children at Christmas too.
Each family registered with Aspleycare has a list of ages for each of their children and gifts are handed out accordingly.
“I have four teenage daughters and they have helped me every year for the last three years and they love doing that part of it,” Ms Galvin said.
“And they help me allocate them (the gifts), and what the gift is and if it’s appropriate for the age.
“They’re so good at it; they say, ‘no that’s a gift for a six year old’, and ‘this is a great gift’.”
Aspleycare is a parish-based organised group of volunteers who minister emergency relief to people on Brisbane’s northside.