2020 has been challenging year to say the least.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has helped support us throughout the year. I want to tell you about how many people you have allowed us to help in 2020. Each week we have helped lighten the load of at least 250 people and the people they share their food with, at our weekly giveaways. The demand has been so high, that we do our regular food giveaway on Wednesdays and special giveaway for the students at TAFE Queensland on Thursdays.
I also want to tell you that Community Friends isn’t just about the numbers. It is about people. It is about Ben who has been coming to our give-away for years and who just this week went in for life-saving surgery. And Rap, who has recently managed to find a place of his own after many years of living in shared housing. And Caroline who spent more than 12 years living in her car before she was able to get back on her feet.
So many stories. So many people. So much hope.
But yesterday as I stood in Big W, the store awash with cheap plastic baubles and metallic tinsel, I picked up a book by Australian writer William McInnes and found this gem.
“It is because the world can be so wretched that we are gifted Christmas” William McInnes.
And I realised that this year, my Christmas message to you is simple.
Please come and share the gift of Christmas Day with us at our biggest community event of the year.
2020 has been a wretched year. I think there is barely a person on the planet who would disagree. But together, hand-in-hand and one day at a time, we made it.
So let’s celebrate together. With your help, no one needs to spend Christmas alone in Brisbane, Caboolture, Logan, Ipswich and the Redlands/Moreton Bay area.
Everyone is welcome. No matter what reason you want to join us – you are welcome.
The barbecues will be going from 7.30am, and there will be plenty of festive food and loads of good cheer. The address is the corner of Boundary Street and Russell Street, West End.
We are delighted to help out with gifts for both children and adults. If you have someone in mind, please send an email and let us know the details and we’ll do our best to get them what they are after.
Or, if you can, please bring a gift. Please wrap it if you can and describe the kind of person the gift would suit. We’ll hand them out on the day for a little extra happiness.
One of my favourite things about this day is no one can tell which of our guests are homeless and disadvantaged, which ones are volunteers, donors or just people who happen to be lonely and looking for company.
Some of our guests have been coming since 2010, and for others, this will be their first year.
Our Christmas Day giveaway is an event for everyone. Please bring something if you can (if you could shoot me a quick email and let me know what you are bringing) – that would help a lot. Please remember – we need you to keep hot food, hot and cold food, cold.)
And finally, I’d like to remind you that Community Friends doesn’t receive any Government funding and yet our Christmas Day community event is one of the largest and most vibrant in Brisbane.
We don’t have a large bank account and in the last 30 days it dropped $10,000. I don’t regret any of the money we spent. We have to have insurance. We had to buy food, and we had to pay our fuel account. We couldn’t have done this if it wasn’t for our donors who make regular fortnightly or monthly donations. We are happy that people give us one off donations, but fortnightly or monthly donations help sustain the organisation over the longer term.
We’d love to take your gestures of love and turn them into real help that is helping real people.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for your help this year. I hope we see you on Christmas Day and may 2021 be prosperous and happy year for you and your friends and family.