More than 470 gifts and 160 hampers were shared to families in our district thanks to community generosity through The Salvos this year.
Wendy Broome and Judy Brown have extended The Salvos' thanks to everyone who generously shared festive joy with people in Forbes, Eugowra, Condobolin and throughout the Parkes shire over Christmas.
"The need is very great in the town still, not all as a result of the flood - obviously the economic situation isn't helping either," Wendy said this week. "So we were be delighted to be able to do what we did."
The Salvos website says the organisation is seeing that costs of living - utilities, groceries and essentials, are rising disproportionately to wage growth.
Locally in the lead-up to Christmas, community members were invited to donate gifts for children through the big gift box at KHub. The Salvos team were also touched by the number of people who walked into the stores with gifts, food and money. They also received gift cards through CWA.
"It was an easy process because of the kindness of people," Wendy said.
Applications for gifts and hampers were taken through the stores up to November 30, and the team of volunteers then went about selecting gifts to suit children depending on their age and any special needs identified. The funds in addition to the toy donations made this possible. Hampers of non-perishable foods were packed to suit each family, with each hamper including a grocery gift card to buy some fresh food closer to the day.
The Salvos call each family and give them a separate pick-up time, and parcel all the gifts to maintain privacy.
"Every single person who came in on the (pick-up) day thanked us many times before they went out the door," Wendy said.
"People have just been so grateful, it's quite humbling really. A lot of the people who came to us I interviewed personally and they said, we've never had to do this before," she said.
"We just want to thank the community for their donations," Wendy and Judy said, as well as the support of the annual Red Shield Appeal.
Because The Salvos aren't just here at Christmas, they're here all year round working out of the Forbes and Parkes family stores with an emergency pantry in each. They have also been able to provide fuel vouchers to families who have needed to get to medical appointments in major centres thanks to the community support.