CHRISTMAS GIVING: Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Alison Kennedy and Civic Church's Matt Gregg.
CHRISTMAS GIVING: Toowoomba Hospital Foundation CEO Alison Kennedy and Civic Church's Matt Gregg.

Make this Christmas happy for yourself and others

FOOD is the number one priority for Lifeline as we head into another Christmas in which need has grown across the Toowoomba region.

Charities are asking, whether you need help or can lend a hand to others, to contact them, make donations or volunteer now.

It is not just singles and families, but the elderly, already struggling with bills and on pensions or small incomes, who often find themselves cash-poor due to the demands at Christmas time.

Lifeline Darling Downs CEO Derek Tuffield said more than 200 families had booked for food assistance even before December 1.

Lifeline will distribute food and hampers from December 10-23 and immediately after Christmas, when they have found there is also an increased demand for help.

Last year, Derek said, they found there was particular demand from separated fathers on low income or government payments financially stressed when the kids came to visit at Christmas.

Across the region Lifeline expects to help over 700 families this Christmas, and hopes to collect 20,000kg of food throughout southern Queensland as part of its Loads of Love Appeal in collaboration with the Civic Church (formerly Metro Care).

The Salvos hope to help about 200 families with toys through their Toy Appeal this Christmas, while others will receive help through the Adopt a Family program and food donations.

On Christmas Day itself, the lonely, homeless and others hit by financial crisis are welcome at Frances Holmes' 15th Christmas lunch at St Luke's Anglican Church hall, Toowoomba.

Each year up to 80 people join the party from 11.30am-1pm for roast chicken with all the trimmings and dessert.

"I've always lived by the motto that from those of us who have much, much is expected,” Frances said.

Phone 0408 070 300 by December 20 to book your place but, in the case of emergency, Frances said no-one has ever been turned away.

Base Services' Basement Kitchen is involved in supporting the lunch, as well as supplying basic food and Christmas hampers to the homeless and others in need.

Toowoomba Hospital Foundation is also running its third Neighbourhood Christmas, partnering with Civic Church to host a two-course lunch at St Joseph's College, James St, for those who might not otherwise have the chance to celebrate.

Contact THF or your community service provider to be referred to attend, and if you can help by volunteering time or donating, phone (07) 4616 6166 or email thf@health.qld.gov.au.

HOW TO HELP

  • Lifeline's Loads of Love Appeal runs until December 20, with parcels going out between December 10 and 23. Bags can be collected, filled and dropped off at Toowoomba's Grand Central Shopping Centre, Civic Church or Lifeline branches as well as other venues, or donate online at www.lifelinedarlingdowns.org.au. Go to https://loadsoflove.org.au.
  • The Salvos welcome donations at Cnr West St and Anzac Ave, Toowoomba. Phone (07) 4632 7206. New, unwrapped toys can also be donated here or left at the Kmart Wishing Tree. To donate to Adopt a Family, phone 0409 159 700.
  • Base Services is also calling for donations of non-perishable goods and toiletries by Friday, December 14, or cash donations which are tax deductible. Drop donations at 10 Neil St, Toowoomba, phone (07) 4638 2399 or go to www.baseservices.com.au. A hamper for the homeless costs $45. Swags, backpacks, waterbottles and blankets are always needed.

BEST FOODS TO DONATE

Rice, pasta, pasta sauce, noodles, meal bases, cereal, long-life juice and milk, poppas, canned foods, spreads, snacks like dried fruit, nuts, muesli bars and crisps, sweet and savoury biscuits and lollies. Toiletries including soaps, moisturisers, shampoos and deodorant are also appreciated.


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