Hampers give gift of hope

Each Christmas for 22 years, a dedicated group of churchgoers in Bayswater has been bringing cheer to people they’ll never meet and whose smiles they can only imagine.

St Stephen’s Anglican Church has received Council funding for its Christmas hampers to be given to Knox families experiencing challenging times with increasing cost of living expenses.

Parish secretary Susan Hammond says the church has a long-standing link with Bayswater South and Bayswater West primary schools who help distribute the hampers.

“The schools choose the families that the hampers go to because they know the families who need them most,” she says.

Susan says giving to others has been part of the ethos of the parish since it started in 1908.

“I have been through the parish history and I’ve seen examples of hampers being given out in the Great Depression in the ’30s,” she says. “For about the last 22 years, parishioners have donated to hampers at Christmastime.

“The hampers give hope when times are difficult. I see this as giving hope and giving love. It’s freely given without any expectation of thanks and we just think it’s such a wonderful gift to be able to give someone else.”

Long-time volunteer Roz Bruckner says church volunteers originally put out a list of what they need in each hamper and parishioners would donate items on the list.

“We started off with 10 and it just grew like topsy after that,” she says. “We put fresh food vouchers from Farmer Joe’s up to the value of $50 in each hamper, as well as a general grocery $50 restricted voucher. We include Christmas foods as well as staple foods.

“The Lions Club are very generous. Sometimes they give us 20 cakes. And we put in a plum pudding, long-life custard, long-life cream, lollies, chocolates, mince pies, shortbread and a tin of tuna, pasta, pasta sauce and a ham. The church people are really generous.

“I just feel as though I’m giving some pleasure to families. I feel so sad that people must look around the shops and think, I’d like to buy this. The schools tell us every year how they grateful they are and how they’ve got no trouble finding families.”

Council’s grant also funded hampers during wintertime.

If you live in Knox and are in need of food and other emergency relief, visit Community and welfare relief service providers.

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