Christmas Appeal reflects our caring community.

Have you ever had an experience that makes you realise how fortunate you are to live in Tasmania?

This happened to me in the lead up to Christmas. Through my involvement with the Anglicare Christmas Appeal I was amazed to see how collectively, donations add up. But on top of the sheer volume, what really struck me was how donations were so thoughtfully distributed. They were not shared in a random way, but as carefully put together food bags and personally selected gifts.

First, let me tell you about the donations of groceries.

Schools and parishes were asked to donate food that was non-perishable, well within use by dates, and able to be opened without a can opener. People gave these items by the box load!  So many in fact that our staff room resembled a grocery store.

Volunteers worked with Anglicare staff to sort the items and create food bags. These bags were amply filled with a variety of ready to eat foods, including at least one Christmas treat. There were bags made up for families, for people experiencing homelessness and for older people living alone.

Next, the second wave of donations – the gifts from the ABC Giving Tree.

The amount of gifts from the ABC Giving Tree was incredible.

Anglicare staff travelled to the Hobart ABC studio in a small convoy to collect the donations. Waiting for us was a large pile of bags earmarked for Anglicare – each filled with toys and other gifts. Donations to the Giving Tree are only accepted if unwrapped. This is so organisations like ours can check each item for quality and suitability prior to distribution.

Back at Anglicare, we unloaded the car and set up what looked like a pop-up toy shop. There was a table loaded with items for babies, including beautiful quilts and baby care items. One large couch was designated the soft toy zone, and we arranged dolls on the other. A coffee table was stacked high with Lego. Most of the kitchen floor was covered with sports equipment and the kitchen bench became an island of board games and puzzles. The large table housed everything creative, with things to make and experiments to try. There was a corner stacked with books. And finally, a side table was devoted to toiletries, purses and other small gifts for adults.

When the job was done every section of the room was so crammed I wondered if we’d manage to find recipients for all the items. But there were Christmas lists to fill for accommodation facilities and Anglicare support workers scheduled to arrive. Within a few short hours, everything would disappear in a process that was amazing to watch.

What shone through was how gifts were chosen with specific people in mind.

Anglicare workers, whether from community services, aged home care or disability support, arrived to collect items with people in mind, knowing what they’d appreciate and enjoy. Their thoughtfulness in selecting gifts to distribute, was genuinely touching.

For me, the Christmas Appeal reminded me that Tasmanians are at heart, a caring community. And that is something I find both deeply reassuring and motivating to be a part of.

You can help make a difference by donating to Anglicare at any time of the year, or by volunteering. Plus you can also contact us with ideas, comments and suggestions. You can find out about this here.

Miriam Palmer joined Anglicare as a Communications Officer midway through 2019.

 

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