From Rev Karyl Davison and Chris Ellis
Kippax Uniting Church
When UnitingCare Kippax first began in the 1990s as the welfare arm of Kippax Uniting Church, our generosity into our community extended from everyday help to special extras for Christmas.
Each year since the early 2000's we have filled hampers with everyday items and Christmas treats, and collected toys, to be distributed in our community to those who, for whatever reason, would otherwise have a lean Christmas.
Of course each year's efforts have looked different, and, until Covid changed everything, each year has been a bigger event than the one before.
This year, from 1st - 17th December, regular KUC clients and others have come to Kippax at appointed times. We helped about 450 local families this year. Each family received boxed food hampers (supplied through the ACT Government), and the grocery bags that we and community groups, individuals and other congregations especially North Belconnen UC, have generously filled and donated.
Money donated, again by a range of individuals and organisations, go to buying gifts and movie tickets for teenage gifts.
The adults were then be escorted through the Gift Room to select gifts for the members of their households - toys for the children, entertainment vouchers for teenagers, specially filled handbags*, and many other gifts. After that there are books, stocking fillers, decorations, some clothing items, and other items that have been donated.
The Gift Room is stocked with: gifts left over from last year, gifts purchased in January from last year's monetary donations, gifts purchased in sales during the year, and gifts given in the current appeal, including the Teen Gift Drive.
Volunteers, drawn from the congregation, community and staff, are invited to support the Emergency Relief staff during this time for specific tasks:
- being an “elf” involves welcoming the service users and walking them through the various stages;
- shopping for gifts;
- being a Gift Room helper can involve unpacking, registering, and sorting gifts, and restocking the Gift Room when there are breaks;
- helping set up and pack down;
- packing hampers and checking donations.
And just before Christmas, volunteers will help tidy the church, and pack away the Gift Room leftovers to be stored for next year when we do it all again!
*The handbags come from Share the Dignity who provide handbags full of essential personal care items which women and girls can chose to take as their gift. Share the Dignity is an organization formed to address period poverty which sees women and girls unable to participate in school and life in general because they are unable to buy tampons and pads during when they’re menstruating. Share the Dignity assists: “those in need by collecting hundreds of thousands of period products each year through collection drives and campaigns. These products are distributed directly to charities across Australia” like UnitingCare Kippax.