Easing the burden at Christmas

FOR many, Christmas time can be a time of pure excitement and joy, but for others it can be a time of stress and financial difficulty.

We all know the festive season can be an expensive time with gift giving and food shopping, and that is where the Clare Valley Community Outreach (CVCO) comes into play with its donations of Christmas hampers.

The Emergency Relief office through the CVCO has been providing Christmas hampers for the needy in the region for more than a decade.

Christmas Hamper coordinator through the Emergency Relief Office, Joanne Cook has been part of the initiative for the last seven years.

“The hampers definitely help out many struggling families, getting them through not only Christmas day but the following week where many struggle the most,” Joanne said.

CVCO donates around 40 hampers per year, going to people in need on their client list, with local names also coming from the Red Cross and Salvation Army.

“We make sure those who apply are definitely in need of the donation, with a screening process done to see who really needs it,” Joanne said.

While this initiative is extremely generous by helping out the struggling in our region, the CVCO can only do so much without community support.

“Each year we ask the community to help us with donations for the hampers. We are looking for non-perishable food items that are still in date going into the new year,” Joanne said.

“Along with tinned foods, we find Christmas items such as mince pies, Christmas cakes and puddings are well appreciated this time of year.”

Along with the hampers from CVCO, Clare Lions and Rotary Clubs also donate a food box, along with donations from Foodland.

“People are very appreciative of the Christmas hampers and say it helps them out tremendously at a time that can be very stressful,” Joanne said.

“We encourage the community to be involved with all donations gratefully received.”

Food collection boxes are available at the Clare Plains Producer Office, CVCO on Tuesday from 9.30am to 12.30pm, and most churches are also accepting donations.

The food collection will be available until Friday, December 13.