24 December 2020
As part of our annual end of year appeal, YWCA Canberra runs a food drive within our early childhood and school age education and care services. This food, combined with that purchased through our Lanyon Food Hub, goes towards holiday hampers for people in our housing programs, so they can enjoy the festive season.
Our housing programs include affordable housing for people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, and a range of supported accommodation options for women and their families. The demand for these services has spiked in 2020, with all the additional financial stresses on so many families.
However, based on the amount of food collected in our services, the generosity of our community has also peaked! Our housing team was overwhelmed by just how much people donated, and were able to provide hampers filled to the brim with both staples and special treats to around 50 homes across Canberra.
The food was complemented by presents for all the children in those families, provided by YWCA Canberra staff as well as the team at our IT provider, centreRED, and Unique Dental Care in Deakin—both organisations had approached us to see if they could help with some holiday giving!
From 18 to 22 December, staff within the housing team had the joy of playing Santa and delivering these hampers and gifts to clients.
Here are just two stories from those visits:
One of our clients is a single mother who came to us after escaping domestic violence. She had been living in her car with her three children. Thankfully, we were able to provide her with transitional housing. Upon opening the door to see the Christmas hamper and presents for our children, our client immediately teared up. She was in shock and said she could not believe this was for her family.
Another large family has had a very challenging year with many children with additional support needs, mental health challenges and having to relocate. Although usually reserved, the mother was so thankful for the presents and food hamper that she gave her case manager a hug, followed by a Christmas card that said: “thank you for supporting us when no one else would”.
The family’s youngest son showed off a trophy he recently won for martial arts, which he said he wouldn’t have been able to do without YWCA Canberra helping his family.
Thank you to everyone who contributed to helping families in need have a more positive holiday period.