Hampers of Hope

John Berger | CEO | St Bartholomew’s House
John Berger | CEO | St Bartholomew’s House

St George's Cathedral at Christmas

‘This is the only gift I’ll get this Christmas.’ ‘It’s a great help this time of the year. There are so many other financial pressures I’m dealing with.’ ‘It really helps me make ends meet.’

Christmas is a challenging time for many of the 500 clients we support on any given night, so it is understandable that when they receive a hamper of essentials and goodies, it is met with lots of emotion and gratitude. Throughout November and December, we have our incredible donors and volunteers gathering items, bringing them to our drop-off hub and packing and distributing them to assist our efforts in spreading a little hope among those who are experiencing homelessness. We consistently receive the above feedback from hamper recipients and are committed to providing an annual Christmas hamper to give those struggling over and above what they would receive through normal emergency relief or other programs. We also try to personalise the gifts and acknowledge the individual, which is why we have chosen to focus on additional ‘treats’ they wouldn’t usually receive.

However, the holiday period is more than just making sure everyone has a present. Often, our clients don’t have families and Christmas is traditionally a family time. It can highlight what people don’t have in their lives while others are celebrating what they do have. So we seek to provide a sense of community and belonging among the St Bart’s family. We organise functions on Christmas Day such as movie outings and beach and barbecue activities. It is important we provide an alternative community environment for those experiencing homelessness. We know the pressures, loneliness or loss any person or family in Perth and WA can face at Christmas time. So, from everyone here at St Bart’s, we wish you a Christmas filled with community, too. If you are able to stretch your giving for those in great need, then help us fill these hampers by visiting stbarts.org.au/Christmas-hampers-list to find out what items are needed by Thursday 20 December. Or make a cash donation. We make your donation go a long way indeed. Our hope is that these hampers are not simply viewed as the only gift they receive this year, but serves as a reminder they have a wider community who care about them.

Email brivers@stbarts.org.au if you would like a St Bart’s Christmas Hamper Appeal list emailed to you, your parish or school. Or to donate, head to stbarts.org.au/donate-now

Article published in December 2018/January 2019 Messenger magazine