THE Festive Season should be a special time for children and their families in this lucky country but according to the Australian Council of Social Services over 3 million people (that’s 14% of the population) already living under the poverty line will again go without this Christmas.
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With a gap in available support from government agencies it’s left to the tireless work of the not-for-profit charity sector to pick up where so many will feel stranded during the holiday period.
This is where the good people at St Vincent de Paul, Nelson Bay hope to help those on the Peninsula by providing some Christmas cheer through their annual hamper drive that ran on Wednesday 11 December last week.
Dod Norris from St Vincent de Paul, Nelson Bay said that this year there were over 70 hampers full of toys and food goods that went out to families in the area.
“Our hampers go out to mainly families from Nelson Bay and Anna Bay and we find in particular there are a lot of single parents who really need a hand this time of year,” said Mr Norris.
“We send letters out in the months prior to families we already assist to make sure they have enough for some Christmas cheer.”
Vinnies not only provides hampers for families during this time of year with gifts and smaller hampers given to seniors across the many nursing homes on the Tomaree Peninsula.
“We try and provide for all those who need a little spark during the festive season,” said Mr Norris.
Vinnies is supported by St Michaels Primary School who assist in raising donations for toys and food with their “Mini Vinnies” charity efforts according to Mr Norris.
Vinnies is assisted through the efforts of over 20 volunteers and staff who help to bring all the hampers together.
“Our volunteers are amazing and give up a lot of time to help those that need it,” said Mr Norris.
By Mitch LEES