EVERY BIT HELPS: Julie Williamson, Jeanelle Horn, Sue Burridge, Rachel Thompson and Ashleigh McBurney from Emerald Neighbourhood Centre with the current donations for the Linking Alms for Christmas appeal.
EVERY BIT HELPS: Julie Williamson, Jeanelle Horn, Sue Burridge, Rachel Thompson and Ashleigh McBurney from Emerald Neighbourhood Centre with the current donations for the Linking Alms for Christmas appeal. Kristen Booth

Help fill a family's Christmas with joy

SOME people are overwhelmed, some cry with gratitude and some don't know what to say - but every person who receives a Christmas hamper from the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre's Linking Alms appeal is thankful not just for the food items, but for the gift of community support.

Emerald Neighbourhood Centre director Jeanelle Horn said 300 hampers were delivered to locals last year, however she was concerned this year's delivery could prove "a challenge”.

Ms Horn said it had been a tough year financially for many people in the region and she worried the centre wouldn't receive as many donations as in previous years.

"We hope we'll receive enough donations. The community has always been awesome when it comes to supporting the Neighbourhood Centre and their fellow community members,” she said.

"People are very, very giving.”

Ms Horn said during the next few weeks people were being asked to donate items for the festive hampers - a Neighbourhood Centre tradition - including non-perishables, food vouchers and vouchers for perishable foods, as well as meat vouchers and gift vouchers.

There were also collection bins at Woolworths where community members could make donations that would be passed on to the centre.

"It's amazing how even a couple of items can contribute to the happiness for someone at this time of year,” Ms Horn said.

"The hampers are a gift, and we maintain people's anonymity so for all you know it could be a neighbour or a child's friend's family who receives the hamper.”

She said people struggled for various reasons, including long-term illnesses, and "they just need a bit of help”.

"It's one of the most challenging times of the year for many, many people.”

Ms Horn said it was "pretty amazing” to be able to deliver the hampers to those in need in the community.

"One woman came to the door and burst into tears,” she said.

”And some are so grateful that they say when they are back on their feet, they will contribute and help as well.”

Ms Horn said she was grateful to the churches, community groups such as Lions and Rotary, schools and individuals whose "kind-heartedness” ensured the appeal took place each year.

All donations can be handed in to the Emerald Neighbourhood Centre at 17 Yamala St, Emerald, by December 7.

Donors are also able to make tax-deductible monetary donations to help this Christmas.


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