A parish packing some serious goodwill

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Home > Media > News > A parish packing some serious goodwill
A parish packing some serious goodwill

Bringing joy to others is a Christmas tradition, one fulfilled by the parish of Sandy Bay - Taroona for the past 20 years by packing hampers for the St Vincent de Paul Society’s annual Christmas Appeal.

Parishioner and local St Vincent de Paul conference president Danny Reardon says that the parish responds with incredible generosity to the appeal.

“We get a wonderful response from the parishioners,” Mr Reardon said.

“[We receive] ten to twelve thousand dollars in cash and then food as well.”
Mr Reardon says they use any cash donated to purchase more food, including Christmas treats.

“If there are families with young children, we go to Big W or somewhere like that and get them gift vouchers so they can buy clothing, and for the younger children, toys,” he said.

The parish expects to make around 100 hampers this year, all of which will be distributed to households in the local area, which includes a lot of rental accommodation.

Mount Carmel Catholic College, located nearby, also contributes to the hampers with students and teachers gathering items and bringing them to the parish, as well as helping assemble the hampers.

All the hampers are delivered on one day – but Mr Reardon says they always keep a few in reserve as people sometimes come to the parish on Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day asking if there are any hampers left.

State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society Toni Muir says that the Christmas hamper initiative has been running for at least 30 years, with many Tasmanian Catholic parishes taking part.

She says that the hampers are ‘extremely important’ for those who receive them, and described it as a way to ‘keep Christ in Christmas’.

“The majority of people we help probably would not be Catholic. A large percentage would not have any faith at all, but this is our way of carrying out our Gospel message: ‘We’re gifting this to you so that you can have a joyful and a happy Christmas,’” Mrs Muir said.

Mr Reardon says that the appeal “opens the parish up to the community”.

“It’s amazing when you bring someone a hamper and they ask where the hamper comes from and you tell them, and … then someone will say, ‘Do you have church on Christmas day?’” he said.

He says that the recipients “absolutely get thrilled” at the gift of a hamper.

“The message comes home for them that it’s a special time of the year,” he said.