By Kyra Gillespie
The void left by the sudden closure of Pakenham’s arterial crisis relief centre, the 4Cs, was this week filled by community volunteers and organisations who banded together to carry out the Christmas hamper drive.
With the help of Cardinia Shire Council, 400 hampers were delivered to vulnerable people and families across the region.
Cardinia Shire Mayor Cr Graeme Moore said he was thrilled with the response from community organisations and volunteers who stepped up in the absence of the 4Cs.
“On behalf of the whole council, I wish to express our sincerest gratitude to all of the community volunteers, organisations and council staff that stood up to the challenge this week, making possible the delivery of hundreds of Christmas hampers to those in need in our community,” Cr Moore said.
“This collaboration was a demonstration of what Christmas and community is all about. Because of this effort, hundreds of families received hampers and over 2000 residents were assisted, including children who received toys as well.
“The atmosphere down at Outlook Community Centre in Pakenham, where we were set up for hamper collections, was joyful and it was truly heart-warming to see such generosity of time and goods, kindness and caring among Council and community. There was a sense of ‘let’s get this done and make a real difference.’”
Local organisations who partnered with Council included Salvation Army, Follow Church, ADRA, Outlook, and Parklea.
Many more organisations also contacted council and donated knitted toys, handcrafted toys and food goods.
Local schools collected toys and goods and donated directly to council’s own 2018 Christmas Hamper event and more than 60 volunteers from council and partner organisations assisted throughout the week.
A number of other local organisations will also continue to provide emergency food relief to vulnerable people throughout this period including:
– Salvation Army food support, 51 Bald Hill Road, Pakenham:
Emergency food relief over the Christmas period. To make an appointment, call 03 5941 4906
– The Food Van, Bourke Park, Pakenham:
6–9pm, Tuesday 18 December
6–9pm, Thursdays 13 December
6–11pm, Thursday 20 December
More information at https://follow.church/the-food-van
– Dig In Café (Emerald) at Emerald Community House Hall, 356 Belgrave–Gembrook Road, Emerald:
6–8pm, Friday 21 December
Christmas celebration, registration required at www.facebook.com/events/354243651994228/ or call 03 5968 3881.
The Emerald Community House also has a free food cupboard and table www.emeraldcommunityhouse.org.au/food-free-cupboard
– For additional support, visit the Crisis Referral Information System (CRIS) at cris.crisisservices.org.au.