Christmas will be tough for many vulnerable people this year. The COVID pandemic has greatly affected people’s physical and emotional wellbeing, and ability to support themselves and their families.
Each year, non-profit organisation Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) creates and delivers around 600 Christmas hampers to its affordable homes residents, children and families from its specialist school and early learning and therapy service, and clients receiving home care packages.
VMCH CEO Sonya Smart said some recipients say receiving items such as food, decorations, toiletries and toys is the highlight of their year – which says so much about the impact.
“This will be VMCH’s seventh year delivering hampers, and perhaps the most important. Lockdowns have left vulnerable people even more isolated, and finances have been hit hard. Demand is huge – with close to 700 people in need of essentials, treats and festive cheer,” Sonya said.
“We’re very thankful to our regular donors, supporters and volunteers who make this possible each year – but we need extra help in 2021. We’re hoping community members will consider donating to our 2021 Christmas Appeal and ensuring each and every person who needs it receives a hamper.”
The family of one of VMCH’s specialist school students says their annual hamper “fills their hearts with joy and happiness”. “Ours kids’ faces light up with wonder and curiosity about the goodies in the hamper. It brings the spirit of Christmas and giving into our home… it helps us teach our kids about giving.”
Affordable homes resident Heather says her Christmases “last for 12 months” thanks to the beautiful decorations she receives in her hamper. “I hang them on the lounge room window or on my indoor plant. This way I can cherish these gifts for many years to come.”
Sonya said donations for the hampers won’t only benefit recipients, but people VMCH supports too, through the purchase of craft items. For the past seven years, John R Hannah Aged Care resident Mary has been making decorations to include in the Christmas hampers.
“This program has meant a lot to me, it makes me feel special to be part of it,” Mary says. “I enjoy making the craft and being involved in a group; it makes me feel connected. I often imagine the person opening the door and receiving the hamper and this makes me feel special.”
Sonya sai, “Our staff and volunteers cannot wait to knock on some the doors and spread some much-needed cheer this Christmas. We’re hopeful people out there may consider being a part of this beautiful initiative, by donating any amount they can.”
If you would like to make a donation, visit vmch.com.au/christmashampers or call 1800 036 377.