Despite months of uncertainty, financial hardship and worry wrought by the pandemic, we were humbled by the generous response from the community which blessed over 1000 South Australians with a special Christmas treat!
650 children received gifts from parents who ‘shopped’ at our WestCare Centre Christmas cave, which was stocked with donated presents. This was an unprecedented response and an increase of 50% from last year!
The Christmas cave is a fantastic way to support families while preserving the dignity of parents and carers experiencing financial hardship. Many of the families who received support were experiencing homelessness, new Australians, linguistically diverse community members or had been affected by COVID-19.
Tara* was one of the people who came to the cave in the lead up to Christmas. A single parent, she had brought her small children with her. Her son’s face lit up with joy as he took in the sight of the large room brimming with toys. Overwhelmed, Tara burst into tears and explained that money was so tight the family was struggling to afford food, let alone gifts. The family left smiling happily with presents for the children and a new handbag for Tara.
*Names have been changed for privacy reasons.
On Christmas Day 117 people, including young children, enjoyed a delicious alfresco feast at the WestCare Centre.
Diners were in high spirits and included members of the WestCare community as well as some new faces who were unable to be with family due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Down south, Baptist Care SA once again successfully hosted one of the few free community events in the region that supports vulnerable people and promotes community engagement and well-being.
In what has become a well-loved local tradition, the ground shook underfoot with the roar of the engines of 175 motorbikes and cars taking part in the Run! The event raised over $10,000 to buy gifts for 400 children from Mt Gambier, Penola, Millicent and Naracoorte whose families are doing it tough.
Our heartfelt thanks to everyone who partnered with us to turn hurt into hope for hundreds of South Australian families!