THE Salvation Army has big plans to make Christmas that little bit more special for families in need.
Salvation Army commanding officer Zak Churchill encouraged locals to connect with their community - whether it's participating in Christmas activities, reaching out for help, or giving to people in crisis.
"Christmas is a tough time for a lot of people, particularly families,” Lt. Churchill said. "There is always a lot more expenses and burdens at Christmas and unfortunately, it's not always the most wonderful time of the year for people.”
That's why the Salvation Army is asking everyone in the community to support them in their Christmas Appeal.
"It's our second biggest drive behind the Red Shield Appeal,” Lt. Churchill said.
With many families in need on the Granite Belt, the Salvos have made it their mission to "brighten people's lives over the Christmas period”.
At their drop-off points, the Salvation Army is collecting presents for children to give out to the less fortunate families on December 21.
"We're looking to donate gifts and presents to families in need, particularly for younger children,” Lt. Churchill said. "Every Salvation Army centre in Australia will be giving out presents this year. We want to really show people what the true meaning of Christmas is. Jesus came as a gift for us so we're giving gifts to our people.
"Through the incredible generosity of our local community, we were able to assist many families and individuals in need last year. The Salvos plan to help even more people this year, so we are gearing up to Christmas. We would like to encourage those who are able, to embrace the spirit of giving this Christmas.”
A present under the tree for every child on the Granite Belt is what the Salvos are hoping to achieve - and there is already a few presents at the drop-off points around town.
"We tend to get a lot of presents for the 0-7-year-olds, so if we got more presents for the 8-12- and 15-year-olds that would be really appreciated,” Lt. Churchill said.
Christmas is the busiest time of year for the Salvos, not only is The Salvation Army in Stanthorpe running its Christmas Cheer operation to provide toys for those in need, it is also holding a Christmas Eve Dinner and Carols Event.
"We will need all hands on deck this Christmas, so join us and give hope where it's needed most,” Lt. Churchill said. "Whether it's by donating or volunteering just a few hours of your time, you can make a meaningful difference and bring comfort and joy to Aussies doing it tough.”
The Salvation Army is holding a free Christmas Eve Dinner for people in the community who wish to connect with others. Gifts and assistance will also be available for those in need, by calling into The Salvation Army Family Store at 49 Maryland Street.
On Christmas Day, The Salvation Army is inviting the public to gather to celebrate the hope and joy of Christmas.
"We will have the dinner at the CDS building,” Lt. Churchill said. "You need to book a seat for that one. We'll probably fit up to 50. We want to spread a bit of Christmas spirit. The Salvation Army brass band will be there playing carols. There'll be a few traditional Christmas elements to it throughout the night.”
If you're able to give to a gift under the tree for someone in need this year there will be collection points located at The Bendigo Bank, Country Kids Early Learning Centre, Granite Belt Dental and The Salvation Army Family Store.
December 21will be the pick-up day for those families who filled in a form aking for toys for their kids. Forms are available at The Salvation Army Family Store.
Caption: Bendigo Bank Stanthorpe branch customer relations officer Tania Cobon and Salvation Army commanding officer Zak Churchill hope the community will dig deep to provide toys and gifts for kids in need.
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