No hampering these hampers

Lutheran Care’s Helen Walker and Tania Materne with some of the items that will be packed into this year’s Christmas hampers.

For more than a decade, Lutheran Care have been providing hampers and gift bags to individuals and families in need at Christmas, and will expect to hand out in excess of 400 hampers again this year.

“We’re all just a little bit away from needing help,” said hamper co-ordinator, Tania Materne, who is well into the throes of organising this year’s volunteer hamper-packers and processing hundreds of donations like a “well-oiled machine”.

“None of us are any different… There’s always a surprising need in the Barossa.”

The Christmas hampers, which include staple items as well as a few Christmas treats such as pudding and custard, will be handed out on December 15 to vulnerable or disadvantaged people living in the community, who have engaged with Lutheran Care for emergency relief or been referred by another agency.

More than 500 gift bags, containing new age-appropriate toys and books, are also prepared for children up to the age of 15.

“It can make all the difference to their Christmas, particularly the gifts,” said Tania.

“There are families where children don’t receive Christmas gifts any other way, which is hard for a lot of us to understand.”

With COVID causing financial and social stress for a second year running, the extent of the need this year is yet unknown, but staff predict it will be at least as much as 2020, if not more.

“We’ve been busier in the emergency relief centre than last year,” said Tania.

Hampers will be packed over two days in the St Petri Lutheran Church hall with the help of about 80 volunteers, including winery workers and at least 20 enthusiastic young people.

While church groups, schools and libraries have been involved with the collection of items, donations are still being sought from businesses and the wider community.

Specific items required include: Christmas pudding; Christmas lollies; cereal (medium sized box); long life custard (1L); sweet biscuits; Milo, tea, coffee (medium); tinned ham; long life fruit juice (1L); pasta; chips (large bag); and jam or Vegemite (medium).

Unwrapped, brand new toys can also be accepted.

Drop off points are at Lutheran Care, 26 Second Street, Nuriootpa; Angaston and Tanunda Foodland; Foodworks; The Vine Inn; Barossa Fresh, Nuriootpa; Barossa Physiotherapy; Office National; The Hub; and Soul with Zest, until December 6.

With help from the community, Lutheran Care looks forward to another vitally important hamper drive, which showcases the very best of Christmas spirit.

“It’s overwhelming that the need is there, but it’s more overwhelming that the generosity of the community is there,” said Tania.

“We often have a few tears.”

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