Bringing hope this Christmas

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hampers
2014 has been an exciting year for BaptistCare with many changes and developments. Amidst this change, we have seen many encouragements and blessings.
At this time of the year, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus and all God has provided for us we can spend time reflecting on a year past and look ahead to a new year full of possibilities. For most of us we can enjoy the opportunity of celebrating the birth of Christ, a time for giving and receiving, and spending time with family and friends. But for some people Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year as it is a stark reminder of what they do not have, or what they have lost. I cannot personally imagine what Christmas would be like for people with families who are not in touch, and where there is no special meal to share in.
At BaptistCare our staff and volunteers continue to see an increase in the number of people who need special assistance at this time of the year. The tradition of providing Foodbank Christmas hampers to some of the most marginalised in our community brings great encouragement. Last Christmas, BaptistCare was able to deliver more than 550 Christmas hampers to people being helped through BaptistCare programs, but who were alone of struggling to make ends meet over Christmas.
The following two stories were provided by the BaptistCare Domestic Violence Supported Accommodation service. A 22 year old Aboriginal mum, Jane* with two small children, was forced to leave a large country town due to a history of domestic violence. Jane arrived at the BaptistCare centre but was required to travel back to her home town once a fortnight for court required contact visits for the father of the children plus various court hearings. This placed a heavy financial burden on her and at Christmas time she had no money to provide a special meal for her children to share in and celebrate. Jane was overwhelmed with appreciation when she received a food hamper which was filled with supplies of special food.
An older mum, Maria* arrived with a disabled adult child who was confined to a wheel chair. The mum and daughter had experienced 20 plus years of violence from the husband and sons. When they came to BaptistCare, due to being out of the ‘funding zone’, some of the special services for the disabled child were cut or not available. This placed a huge financial burden on the mother having to buy customised equipment to transport her daughter across Sydney to ensure her special needs were met. Again, without a hamper from BaptistCare they would not have had a special Christmas day lunch.
These simple and practical gifts have had a huge impact on Jane and Maria hundreds of other people who felt valued, loved and cared for at Christmas time. Our staff consider it a highlight of their year when they are able to distribute the hampers and witness the joy in people’s faces as they receive this unexpected gift. A simple gift and yet one which has such an impact and reminds people of the love God has for us all in giving us His son Jesus.
BaptistCare has once again joined with Foodbank New South Wales to supply hampers to distribute. Foodbank is a not-for-profit, non-denominational charitable organisation distributing food and grocery industry donations to welfare agencies to support those in need. We appreciate our partnership with Foodbank, helping to provide affordable food and household goods for people in need throughout the year. We would love you to share in this act of giving as we seek to make Christmas special for many marginalised people supported by BaptistCare through the various programs and ministries.
Would you be willing to bring hope this Christmas through the provision of hampers? Your tax-deductible donation will make such a difference this Christmas. Donations can be made by phoning 1300 275 227 or through the website www.baptistcare.org.au.
BaptistCare HopeStreet is also collecting items for hampers to be distributed locally in Woolloomooloo and their various programs. Donations from churches and individuals can be delivered to 130 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo on 15th and 16th December between 9am and 3.30pm. Please contact Helen Dwyer or Jessica Parker on 02 9358 2388 or email helen.dwyer@hopestreet.org.au or jessica.yarris@hopestreet.org.au

By Howard Bennett
BaptistCare HopeStreet

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