Volunteers Roger (left), Mary (far right), and Gary (second from right) help Communify Queensland’s Miranda (second from left) and Kelly (centre) sort through donations for Market Day.
More than a dozen volunteers are helping Communify Queensland staff sort through hundreds of packets of food, boxes of toiletries, gifts and children’s toys, ready for their annual Christmas Market Day.
The donated items will go to people who are doing it tough this Christmas, with around 150 households registered.
Coordinator of Communify Queensland’s north west community hub, Miranda Mallett, said people will be given a number of raffle tickets depending on the size of their family, so they can choose which items they want.
“Having that choice gives people more dignity, and they don’t end up with 20 cans of baked beans which they won’t eat,” Miranda said.
“We also try to focus on it being more of a social event than a hand-out, so our Market Day is a bit of a party, with a barbecue, live music and face-painting for the kids.”
Miranda said it was great to see how many schools, local businesses and individuals had donated this year.
“It’s much bigger than last year,” Miranda said.
“We saw something similar during the Global Financial Crisis, when we had a really great year.
“Whenever things are worse, people are more generous.”
Communify Queensland will pack any remaining food and gifts into hampers, which will be given out to households ahead of Christmas, while also offering virtual vouchers for the first time this year.
“We started doing virtual vouchers during Covid and have continued,” Miranda said.
“Our emergency relief area covers 101 suburbs, so that’s a huge area and can be a long way for people to travel to get here if they need emergency relief.”
The festive season is one of the busiest times of the year for the Communify team, as many clients need additional support services.
“So many different support services connect families to us and refer them to our Market Day,” Miranda said.
“It’s a great time to bring together the community – and it’s not just families, we also have a lot of single-person households who have been quite isolated this year – and for some of them, this could be the only Christmas event they go to.”
Communify has worked for the local community for over 40 years, delivering a range of services, including emergency relief, food relief through the Pantry program, No interest loans scheme (NILS), mental health referrals, Intensive family support program, Over 65 services, the Neighbourhood centre program, NDIS, homelessness services, Asylum Circle and Drug and Alcohol Rehab services.