It’s a tough time of year for families who are struggling. But the Redland Community Centre team is spreading Christmas cheer to those in need with their Festive Food bags and annual Christmas gift donation drive.

This year, they are providing Festive Food bags to around 400 families, or 1,000 people, who are experiencing hardship in the Redlands area.

The packs, which are offered to existing clients of the Emergency Relief food program, include festive staple food items as well as treats to share and a BBQ meat pack to help families put on a spread for Christmas.

“It’s Christmas Day in a bag for families who are in genuine need,” Redland Community Centre CEO Allison Wicks said.

“Our Festive Food bag program aims to meet the need and not the greed that we sometimes see in these programs.

“The community response this year has been huge. We’re fortunate to be in a region where we have both low socio-economic and very high socio-economic households. I think that’s why it works so incredibly well.”

Redland Community Centre team packing festive food bags
Emergency Relief Lead Kellie Boughen, CEO Allison Wicks and Operations Manager Ronan Wicks

This week, staff will be visiting the Bay islands to delivering Festive Food bags to people who can’t make it across to the mainland to visit Redland Community Centre’s head offfice at Capalaba.

“A lot of applications come in late for our Christmas Toy Project, but we’ve never turned anyone away without providing something for their children. We’ll be doing up gift and Festive Food bags right up to 22 December if needed and we have the stock,” Ms Wicks said.

Stacks of christmas treats for festive food bags

Families are also able to access the centre’s Christmas gift drive – an initiative that has grown so big that Redland Community Centre has had to partner with the local TAFE to house the huge haul of donated presents.

“We’ve got about 2,000 gifts this year,” Operations Manager, Ronan Wicks said.

“Everything from bikes to makeup, sporting equipment, clothes, games, books and toys for all ages – the community has been so generous, it’s been amazing.”

Staff and volunteers packing gifts
Volunteer Faeka with Ronan and Administration officer Chantel have been selecting gifts for children as part of the Christmas Toy Project.

Redland Community Centre volunteers and staff have the enviable task of sorting through the huge array of goods to select gifts for about 600 kids, based on their age and interests.

“Anything left over goes into our own Christmas toy shop, where the working poor can come to choose gifts presents for their kids. It’s all completely free,” Ronan said.

“The best part is seeing the relief that parents have when they know their kids will have presents for Christmas.

“I used to think more about how excited the kids would be, but it’s such a good feeling when you see the parents’ faces and understand what a difference it’ll make for them,” he said.

piles of stuffed toys

Redland Community Centre’s Festive Food bags are provided across Redlands including the Brisbane City Council suburbs of Wynnum and Manly from their sister organisation Wynnum Community Place.

You can donate gifts or food items (particularly long-life custard, juice or festive treats) to the Centre at 29 Lorraine Street, Capalaba. Visit the Redland Community Centre website or Facebook page for more information.

14 December 2021 |Focus area: |Service type: |Location: ,