“People cried when they were given your beautifully wrapped Stuff the Bus hampers…One child was overheard saying, “Mum, we can have Christmas pudding!”, said a representative from a Homelessness Outreach Service we supported in Melbourne.
Stuff the Bus is our Australian church’s Christmas gift to families doing it tough in our local communities. The heart of the appeal is to place dignity on parents by empowering them to give gifts to their children and putting Christmas food on their table.
Since it launched in 2010, Stuff the Bus has provided over 100,000 food hampers and toy packs to over 63,000 families across Australia through our programs and community partners. As the campaign has grown we have continued to look at ways to improve the consistency and quality with our heart to always place value and dignity on the recipients of these gifts.
In 2018 we took the entire Christmas Appeal online, where people could select the gifts they wished to purchase in our online Stuff the Bus stores. We also provided physical shopping experiences at our weekend services by setting up Stuff the Bus stores in our foyers. These changes enabled us to facilitate the logistics of one-day wrap and pack parties at 15 campus locations across Australia. These days were so much fun as members of our church gathered their families, neighbours and friends to be a part of our Christmas gift to the community.
Across all our locations at our pack and wrap parties we had over 2,000 people packing 125,500 food items into 5,500 Christmas food hampers and wrapping 34,620 toys into 8,655 toy packs. Over the whole campaign we distributed 161,120 items to 124 partners across the country including hospitals, schools, refugee services, prisons and other NGO partners such as the Salvation Army and St Vincent De Paul.
One of our community partners called specifically to give their “hugest THANK YOU to us for the “magnificent hampers” they were able to deliver to their clients through our partnership. On behalf of all the people who received hampers and toy packs this year we want to pass on their HUGEST THANK YOU to you, the church, for bringing Christmas people’s table this year!