We opened our Christmas Present Room on 4th December and have been rushed off our feet since. People from all over Canberra turning up to collect a present for their child/ren and a Christmas hamper.
Members of the Australian Department of Jobs and Small Businesses volunteered to staff the present room, for which we are very grateful. The Christmas hampers were very kindly packed by the Lake Ginninderra Sea Scouts at the end of November.
The reactions have been wonderful to watch as people realise that for once they are going to have some lovely presents for their children on Christmas day. Our Programs Manager, Jason Haines, spoke on ABC radio to appeal for food and presents and the response has been amazing.
Lots of businesses have donated as well as individuals and our very own volunteers. When one of our clients, whom we shall call Susan, came in the other day having experienced some intense hardship in her life through no fault of her own. The St John’s Care staff decided to give her one of the presents to cheer her up for Christmas.
Not so long-ago Susan had a job, a good income and a house. Following domestic problems, she lost her house, job and consequently was left with no money. Susan told the Community Worker that she felt like she had lost everything and there was nothing to look forward to any more. When Susan received the present, she cried and thanked St John’s Care for all their help and support.
She said that although Christmas is not all about gifts, the love and support she received from St John’s Care would have been enough. The present was just that little bit more, something she wouldn’t usually be able to afford. Susan has two children and she told staff that she usually goes without so that they can have some gifts.
None of this could happen without the wonderful donations from the community.
SJC have given out 1010 toys to children and seen 338 families since 4th December. Eighty of those families were seen last Friday. Without community support we could not have supported this many families. We really appreciate your generosity.
A reminder that our Christmas lunch happens in the St John’s Hall on Christmas Day from 12pm to 1.30pm. We are anticipating a large crowd who will be served by many community volunteers.
SJC wish list for this week: Tinned fruit, sweet biscuits and peanut butter.
St John’s Care team