Marie Farenden and Dick Cumming with Christmas hampers for Gympie’s needy.
Marie Farenden and Dick Cumming with Christmas hampers for Gympie’s needy. Craig Warhurst

Festive spirit alive in Gympie

THE efforts of an army of apparently tireless volunteers are helping keep the Christmas spirit alive this festive season, especially at the John Street headquarters of Gympie’s St Vincent de Paul organisation.

World financial crisis or not, the good will of volunteers continues to keep smiles on the races of an increasingly large number of people who otherwise might find this Christmas more depressing than festive.

Getting the Christmas hampers out was just one of the jobs underway at St Vinnie’s this week, as Marie Farenden and Richard Cumming helped pack the boxes and baskets that will bring joy to many who cannot otherwise afford Christmas. That was in addition to the continuing routine work of the volunteer welfare organisation which also helps to feed and support battlers all year round.

Volunteers at John Street have so far packed about 120 gift baskets for people in need and about 100 hampers for families. At the same time the organisation’s Food Bank system was powering ahead, helping with cheap groceries for people running short during one of the more difficult and financially tight festive seasons in living memory.

“It’s much busier this year and it’s getting busier all the time,” said one volunteer, whose observations reflected one of the sadder realities of our times.

Meanwhile, with clothing sales helping to subsidise grocery prices at the Food Bank, the organisation continues to do what it and its many tireless supporters do all year round.

One expressed admiration for the many Gympie businesses that also support the organisation’s welfare work.

“Baker’s Delight is one example,” said one. “They give us unsold bread three times a week, which enables us to provide at least the basics.

“In fact, anyone with food they cannot use or sell is very welcome to donate it,” she said.

“People have been very generous,” said volunteer co-ordinator Phyllis Haines. “And we will need their generosity to continue in the after-Christmas period,” she said.

Gympie Times


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