We would love to see you at our Christmas Service at 6:30pm on Sunday 23rd December.
In 2013, the effects of drought and crop viruses have meant that many Queensland farming families have lost much of, or their entire livelihood for the year. For many of them, Christmas will not include a family feast or gifts. Instead, Christmas will be another reminder of the harsh reality of their dire circumstance.This year, Hope City Church set out to change that through the Hope at Christmas initiative.
Farmers in the communities of Charleville and Chinchilla in Queensland’s west have been using the little they have to purchase feed and supplies, in an effort to continue working the land. Numbers of farming families have had to destock because they have no food available for their cattle, and the cost of hay and food supplements have sent them to the edge of financial ruin. As a result, a number of farmers are currently on suicide watch because of the stress they are under.
“One of the danger times is Christmas, because farmers feel like failures for not being able to provide their families with any Christmas luxuries. The Christmas hampers aren’t just going to bring Christmas cheer, they may actually save lives and families.” said Lee Dallman, Senior Pastor of Western Downs Community Church, Chinchilla and partner in Hope at Christmas.
The Hope at Christmas initiative saw over 100 gourmet food hampers collated by numbers of families, workplaces and schools in Brisbane and Toowoomba cities over the month of December. The hampers were gift wrapped and transported via truck to Western Downs Community Church in Chinchilla. Pastor Lee, oversaw the further transportation of the hampers to 17 families in Chinchilla and the remaining hampers to families in Charleville, with the help of local farming community organisation “Aussie Helpers”.
“By the time we reached Charleville, it was barren. They haven’t received decent rain for months. One local told me it’s the driest he has seen it since 1983.” Ps Lee said. “The locals at the “Aussie Helpers” depot were quite overwhelmed at the volume and quality of the hampers. They were especially moved when they heard that the hampers came from Hope City Church in Brisbane and Toowoomba. One lady called Joy asked me several times who provided the hampers. After about the fifth time the gentleman standing beside her started to cry, and Joy told me they just couldn’t believe city folk cared so much about their predicament.”
“I’d like to thank all at Hope City Church involved in making and sending out the Christmas hampers this year. It was definitely a God thing. With so many receiving an unexpected boost this Christmas. Your generosity has been amazing.” Ps Lee said.
Although not a solution to the dire circumstances of drought or financial struggle, “Hope at Christmas” is just that – a sign of Hope and a reminder that our farming families are not on their own.