FOR 25 years, a small army of volunteers has packed up Christmas hampers to gift to those doing it tough in our own backyard.
Since its humble beginning all those years ago, the Uniting Care Christmas Appeal has now become so large and in-demand that the group helping those in their darkest hours was forced to put out a call for help to assist in packaging the hampers.
Locals from inside and outside the congregation, as well as the local scouts, came to the rescue and spent Sunday packing hampers, filled with donated goods that many of us take for granted.
The non-funded local charity, run by locals for locals, is marking its 25th year helping the Tamworth community.
Tamworth Uniting Church Evangelism Committee convener Edna Sheppeard said the number of hampers being donated and packed had doubled in those 25 years.
“Every Christmas, we donate to people in need around Tamworth,” Mrs Sheppeard said.
“This year, we have 140 hampers.
“It’s showing people going through a tough time that people do care about them in our community.”
Families register for the hampers and will collect them Wednesday.
When we delivered (hampers) we had people cry and say to us, we didn’t think people cared about us.Edna Sheppeard
“It’s the first time we’ve had outside help,” Mrs Sheppeard said.
“We’re an ageing congregation so Scouts have been a tremendous help.
“We’ve got 140 hampers this year, so how many others are out there?
“Last year, when we delivered some, we had people cry and say to us, we didn’t think people cared about us.
“It’s about showing people we care.”
The church also visits people who may be lonely at this time of year and surprises them with a gift.
“The gift isn’t the special thing, it’s the visit that counts,” Mrs Sheppeard said.
Scout leader John Press said it was important to teach young boys and girls about the gift of giving at Christmas time.
“They learn about the gift of giving and helping the less fortunate,” he said.
Among the scouts lending a hand was 11-year-old James Harrison.
“We're helping make hampers for charity,” he said.
“It feels really good to help others.”