19 January, 2021

The delivery of 100 food hampers in December 2020 brought relief and joy to those who would otherwise have gone without over Christmas.

The Christmas hampers were the result of a collaboration between Adventist Healthcare through the Sydney Adventist Hospital, ADRA Australia, and local Seventh-day Adventist Churches and pathfinder clubs.

The concept was formed when leadership at the Sydney Adventist Hospital, fondly known as ‘the San’, realised that due to COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings, their annual Christmas staff lunch was no longer viable. And so, they began looking for alternative ways to bring joy to their community.

“Adventist HealthCare usually hosts a meal to show appreciation to our staff near the end of each year, but that was not possible in 2020 due to the safety measures in place,” said Brett Goods – CEO Adventist Healthcare. “So we made a choice to provide food hampers to Sydney families in need, on behalf of our staff, at Christmas instead.”

Adventist HealthCare partnered with ADRA Australia to make this possible. The hamper distribution was spearheaded by the ADRA Community Care Centre in Macquarie Fields. Together with volunteers from the Campbelltown Pathfinders Club and visiting members from Bowral and Coober Pedy Seventh-day Adventist Churches, the 100 hampers were packed, wrapped and presented nicely, ready for distribution. And thanks to the Sydney Tongan Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor and wife, elders and deacons, the 100 hampers were distributed to those in need.

Pathfinder District Director Toatepi Teulilo packing hampers

“The hampers were received with much gratitude, and recipients were very appreciative of the quantity and quality of effort put into them,” said Melissa Baleilekutu, Manager at the ADRA Community Care Centre in Macquarie Fields.

Recipients of the hampers varied from single parents with dependent children, struggling families directly affected by COVID-19, and seniors.

“One of the recipients was a single mother with three kids,” Melissa said. “They lost their house and all their belongings in a fire one-week prior. They had nothing for Christmas and were touched and overjoyed to receive one of the Christmas hampers.”

Packaged hamper ready for distribution

Many of the hampers were received with tears of gratitude.

“One of the mothers who received a hamper was escaping domestic violence and had been cooped up in a hotel for two months,” said Melissa. “She was overjoyed because when we called she was getting keys to a new place but that was where most of her expenses had gone, and she didn’t have anything to mark Christmas. She was in tears when she picked up her hamper and spoke of the impeccable timing.”

Mr Goods echoed Melissa, saying, “The responses received from recipients reminded us how blessed we are and how much these hampers meant to members of our community in need. We are really proud to have partnered with ADRA to spread some joy and goodwill in such challenging times.”

“ADRA Australia would like to thank Adventist HealthCare for their generosity in helping those in need over Christmas,” said Denison Grellmann, CEO for ADRA Australia.

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