News Story

Charity Groups Band Together in Spirit of Giving

A group of volunteers gathered at a local church in Wantirna, Australia on Saturday 9th of November for an afternoon of service. The annual event is planned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints women’s organisation, the Relief Society. Volunteers donated their time, goods and skills in helping various charity groups, both locally and internationally.  


With Christmas just around the corner, 80 food hampers filled with lollies, biscuits and other goodies, were packed for families who struggle during the holiday season.

Leanne Foster from Homelessness East Metro, previously known as Salvo Care East, said that many of the families and individuals who use their services have very little income and especially struggle at this time of year. 

“Christmas is obviously a pretty stressful time financially for people. So [the hampers] go to all of our clients so they can actually have a nice Christmas.”

Polar fleece blankets were also made and donated to Homelessness East Metro. Forty blankets have already been donated to the organisation this year, with an additional 100 made and donated on the day of the event. Ms. Foster shared how the blankets mean more than just warmth to those who receive them.

“A lot of our kids in the program, due to family violence, have had to pretty much get up and walk out and leave everything a blanket that a child can have that is theirs, rather than something that is a communal or family really does make a huge impact on them.”

Each blanket has its own hand sewn tag which reads, "from our hearts and hands," a personal expression of love from those who made it, to its new owner.

Alanna Broome, 26, has been volunteering for a number of years and expressed why she loves assisting in making and donating the blankets.

“I find it really fulfilling to give back to people who I can help. It is a way for them to know that they are loved and that they are cared for and not forgotten.”

Lorena Hayes, representative from Days for Girls was also present at the event. The group makes, packs and distributes reusable sanitary products for young women living in countries where the topic of feminine hygiene is taboo.

“Generally one would miss 40 days of school a year. So that gives them their 40 days back,” said Ms. Hayes.

Ms. Hayes was overseeing the making and assembling of 200 Days for Girls kits which will travel to Cambodia in the coming weeks.

Members of the Relief Society also knitted beanies for premature babies, with a total of 260 woollen hats made, each taking 1.5 to 2 hours to knit. A large portion will be sent to South Africa. When asked about the significance of so many green beanies, the response was that green is a symbol of life in South Africa. All other coloured beanies will be donated to local hospitals.

Sheryl Bulfin, one of the women who helped organise the service project, said the motivation came from the desire to help those within the local community.

“We have a connection with our community [and] there are...many people who live down the road from us who struggle and who need help. And sometimes we can forget about that.”

Go to #LightTheWorld for ideas and ways on how to help and serve others this Christmas season.  

For service ideas in your community, go to Just Serve.

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