Stuff the Bus: Helping Families at Christmas!

Jan 10 2016

Stuff the Bus giving for 2015 once again exceeded all expectations, with a total of 103,601 individual food items and toys received by Christmas Eve!

We helped around 7,800 families across the breadth of the community. These included the elderly, newly arrived asylum seekers, refugees, families with a parent in prison, people who are homeless or in detention centres. Our volunteers also visited local hospitals and a children’s hospice. And Street Teams delivered hampers and gifts to families we knew were facing a tough Christmas.

The heart of Stuff the Bus is about placing dignity on parents, creating special moments for children and gathering family and friends around a Christmas meal. Your overwhelming generosity has helped to make Christmas brighter for many families in our community.

Christmas is usually a time of feasting and celebration, yet this year we received the highest number of community partner’s requests ever received for food hampers. Who can place themselves in the shoes of the parents bracing themselves to give their children the bad news that there would be no presents this year? What about the child who through no fault of their own has a mum or dad in prison? These are just a few of the many needs that we practically meet through Stuff the Bus with gifts of Christmas food hampers and toys.

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The feedback we received so far has been wonderful …

“We dropped off the hamper and presents to an asylum seeker family in Parramatta. She doesn’t know what to say and couldn’t thank us enough.  The kids were really excited. She and her husband are really touched.”

“A man who came into our Emergency Relief Foodbank told us he was going to spend Christmas alone as he was embarrassed to go visit his son because he had nothing to take with him as a gift. We gave him a Christmas hamper and gifts for his grandchildren. He left so happy!”

“On behalf of the staff and students at Macquarie Community College Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), we would like to express our sincere gratitude for your donations of hampers and toys. Newly arrived migrants face so many struggles settling into their new country, gestures like this make such a difference in their lives.”

“You have made this Christmas so much brighter for hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers through your donations of food hampers and gifts. When the trailer arrived, overflowing with jolly red hampers and gifts, our staff felt so overwhelmed and grateful.” Settlement Services International (SSI)

We know there are many more untold stories of lives impacted because of your generosity. It makes all the hard work that everyone pours in to ensuring no one misses out so worth it!

Stuff the Bus continues to grow each year and the logistics of the campaign takes a huge team to make it happen. We are grateful for all our church staff and the hundreds of volunteers who helped to make this possible. We also could not do this without the help of over 100 community partners who assisted in the distribution of the gifts, as well as the support of local businesses across all our campuses in Australia.

It definitely takes everyone playing their part to ensure that more families are helped each year!

Jason Allen