October and November is a busy time for us as we prepare all of the Christmas Project gift parcels. December is left clear for the preparation of food parcels and the Christmas cards which are a mammoth task on their own, even when we have many volunteers on deck to assist. It’s a huge coordinated effort that has to happen around our regular work and routine of running the community.
The Marrickville Amcal Chemist has been an amazing supporter of the Christmas Project over the years. The staff contact suppliers on our behalf and persuade them to donate, or at least provide at reduced cost to Gethsemane, a range of toiletries. We receive hundreds of units of each toiletry item they supply, which is fantastic. Some of the staff even come to personally assist in the preparation and serving of lunch on Christmas day too.
The shelves in the garage at Gethsemane Community are permanently allotted to the Christmas Project. It’s is a considerable task to prepare the Christmas parcels for the various groups of recipients, many of which have special needs and are located around the Sydney region and NSW.
Schools and other groups get involved with donation drives, their items are always used in the parcels but unfortunately there are never enough of certain gifts. We always buy thousands of lollies, including sugar free varieties, focusing on good quality sweets, as this is often what the recipients look for first. We also have to buy items such as disposable razors, shaving cream, deodorant and shampoo which are always appreciated and needed.