DECK THE HALLS: (from left) Family Store manager Laura Richards decorates the tree while Major Brian Smith pops pressies from volunteer Kellie Foad underneath.
DECK THE HALLS: (from left) Family Store manager Laura Richards decorates the tree while Major Brian Smith pops pressies from volunteer Kellie Foad underneath. Donna Jones

Salvos are giving hope for Christmas to Gympie people in need

CHRISTMAS is a season of hope and The Salvation Army in Gympie is encouraging people to give hope where it's needed most this festive season.

"Last year, through the generous support of our local community we were able to assist 308 families and individuals in need,” said Gympie Salvation Army officer Major Brian Smith.

"The joy, hope and relief in the faces of those assisted is a real reminder of what Christmas is all about. With your support we will be able to help even more people this year.”

Not only is the Salvation Army in Gympie running its annual Christmas Cheer operation to provide toys and food for those in need, it is also holding a Christmas Luncheon on Friday, December 23 at noon and putting on a local Carols on the Lawn from 5-7pm on December 11.

The carols include a jumping castle and petting zoo for the children as well as a free sausage sizzle.

"These activities are all on our site in 42 Stumm Rd, Southside,” Major Smith said.

"Our Carols on the Lawn is a great time to put aside the busyness and stress of Christmas and focus on the joy and peace that is found in the true meaning of the season.

"It's free and it's a wonderful event to experience with family and friends. Everyone is welcome.”

Christmas is the busiest time of the year for The Salvation Army. Salvation Army caseworker Julie Miller said the public's support was so important.

"Please join us to give hope where it's needed most by donating toys or food for our Christmas hampers and supporting our Adopt a Family program,” she said.

Ms Miller has been distributing Christmas hampers with the Salvation Army for six years. She organises the Adopt a Family Christmas campaign as well as interviews individuals and families who are facing tough times, providing support where possible.

For those doing it tough this Christmas, you can gain assistance by contacting Julie on 54821710.

"You will need to come to our Salvation Army centre at 42 Stumm Rd, Southside and fill out a form to be eligible for assistance,” she said.

"This can be done on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Fridays between 10am and 2pm. Don't be afraid or too proud to ask for assistance - we're here to help.”

For anyone experiencing loneliness at Christmas or for those who want to connect, they can attend the Christmas Luncheon on December 23.

"Join us for a lovely Christmas meal with a real festive atmosphere,” Major Smith said.

On Christmas Day itself, the Salvation Army is inviting the public to gather together to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

"We believe Jesus is the hope of the world and His love compels us to do what we do. Our Christmas Church service is family friendly and a great way to celebrate what Christmas is all about - the birth of Jesus. Everyone is welcome,” Major Smith said.

The Salvation Army's Christmas Day service will be held 9am on Sunday, December 25 at 42 Stumm Rd, Southside.

To find out more information about what the Salvation Army is doing at Christmas across the country, go to Share your photos with the Salvos on social media using the hashtag #givehope.

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