HERE TO HELP: Emerald Neighbourhood Centre’s Sherie McDonald and Margaret Boland have been busy with this year’s Linking Alms Christmas appeal.
HERE TO HELP: Emerald Neighbourhood Centre’s Sherie McDonald and Margaret Boland have been busy with this year’s Linking Alms Christmas appeal. Amber Hooker

Locals Linking Alms

FAMILIES across the region will be given a "hand up, not a hand out" this Christmas, thanks to the generosity of other locals looking to make their Christmas special.

The Emerald Neighbourhood Centre is continuing their festive tradition to lead the Linking Alms appeal, which sees hampers of gifts, food and Christmas spirit spread to families in need.

"It's not a huge amount of food, but it's enough to make them feel that they are part of a community," Emerald Neighbourhood Centre director Sherie McDonald said.

The Linking Alms initiative was first created in 1998 by the combined churches, which realised the need for a co-ordinated plan for Christmas - the Neighbourhood Centre has been co-ordinating it since.

>> CQ News supports Linking Alms Chirstmas Appeal

The centre also runs the Adopt-a-Family initiative, whereby organisations such as Anglicare, Centacare and Uniting Care select names from a hat from the Linking Alms initiative for individuals and businesses to "adopt" and support with gifts, food or cash donations.

"We don't hear the story about them, we trust them (the organisations) in their capacity to make a decision on what a family needs," Sherie said.

"And then we have our own criteria, it might be someone had cancer through their family this year, or their husband lost their job in downturn and they haven't caught up, it can be really varied."

Sherie said no donation was too big or small, but teenagers proved the toughest to buy for.

"We do have quite a lot of teenagers that are on the list this year," she said.

Contact the Neighbourhood Centre, or drop off donations to participating businesses.

Tips for gifts

  • Newborns: 12 months: clothes, soft toys, building blocks.
  • 2-6 years: Soft toys, back packs, paint hat, colouring books.
  • 8-12: Bike, Lego, games, board games, football, gift card.
  • 14-16: Hair products, Nerf guns, bike, watch, bag for school/overnight stays, jewellery, gift cards, movie tickets, driving vouchers, items for bedrooms - new bed linen.

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