SEVERAL agencies donating gifts and food to struggling central Victorian families ahead of Christmas could be caught short without an increase in donations – and fast.
Uniting Bendigo and Anglicare Victoria St Luke’s region leaders said they would struggle to meet the demand with their current stocks of food and toys.
With only 20 days until Christmas, the time to match recipients with suitable donations is fast approaching.
Anglicare Victoria St Luke’s Region is hoping to have donations in by December 11 to allow for the sorting process, regional director Francis Lynch said.
“Sometimes it can come a little bit late,” he said.
The sooner it gets to Christmas, the more challenging it becomes for the agency to distribute new donations to those in need.
However, Mr Lynch said all donations were appreciated and, if too late for Christmas, could be distributed at other times of the year.
“We know the community in Bendigo was very generous last year,” he said.
“We hope that generosity will continue.”
Uniting Bendigo emergency relief support team leader Julie Roberts was expecting the agency would be called upon to help provide gifts for more than 1000 children this year – up from about 970 the year prior.
The agency also distributes food packages, and is appealing for donations of both toys and non-perishable foods in the lead-up to Christmas.
“It’s looking very slim at the moment,” Ms Roberts said.
She said a late surge in donations was typical, and wasn’t panicking about whether Uniting Bendigo would have enough stock to meet demand – yet.
“When people really get into the Christmas spirit it starts,” she said.
Bendigo Community Health Services looks set to be able to provide for all the identified clients in need of a little extra support this festive season.
The organisation provides toys and vouchers for families and children and need.
BCHS spokesperson Rod Case said the Christmas appeal had been well supported by the community, and thanked all those involved for their generosity.
“The need out there is sad and a concern,” he said.
But he said BCHS staff had not reported a huge spike in the need for assistance.
Crooked Kitchen owner Tara Stojic said interest in the Bendigo cafe’s Christmas store was comparable to the year prior.
For one day – December 15, this year – the private business opens its doors to people in need of gifts, food, or essential items for the festive season.
After a slow start, Miss Stojic said donations were trickling in.
Crooked Kitchen last year raised more than $3600 to purchase food, toys, books, toiletries and festive treats, which it then donated at its store.
In addition to cash donations, the cafe accepts donations of unused goods including toys, toiletries, non-perishable food, and vouchers.
More on how you can help:
- Click here for more about the Crooked Kitchen appeal.
- For more about the Bendigo Community Health Services appeal, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 5448 1600.
- The Uniting Vic.Tas Christmas appeal is seeking donations of non-perishable food and gifts. To support the appeal in Bendigo, click here or phone 5443 4972. Ms Roberts said people could also drop off donations at Uniting Bendigo at 25 Forest Street, Bendigo.
- Anglicare Victoria St Luke’s Region is collecting donations for its Christmas Toy and Food Appeal. Click here for more information about getting involved. For gift or food donation ideas or to schedule a donation pickup, call 1800 809 722 or email email@example.com