Nearly half a million Queenslanders live on or below the poverty line and the people of Brisbane are being urged to give generously to people in need this Christmas, with Wesley Mission Queensland launching its annual Red Bag Christmas Appeal.
The appeal asks people to fill a Red Bag with Christmas grocery goodies and toys, to be distributed to clients at a range of different Wesley Mission Queensland community services including the Emergency Relief Hub in Fortitude Valley, Elorac Place at Carole Park, Eagleby Family Services and the Robina Youth and Parenting Hub in the lead up to Christmas.
Wesley Mission Queensland General Manager of Fundraising Paul Reis said the Red Bag Appeal is more than just a handout to people in need.
“The appeal is an opportunity for the Brisbane community to come together and give dignity, respect and the spirit of Christmas to those individuals and families who are doing it tough,” Mr Reis said.
“The need in our community has never been greater. We all know that there are many extra costs associated with Christmas that really add up and for those families who are just making ends meet, they may not be able to afford Christmas food or presents for the kids.
“This is our fifth year doing the appeal and we are always overwhelmed by the generosity of the Brisbane community and our corporate and small business supporters and we hope people will give generously again this year.”
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and his wife Nina Schrinner officially launched the 2019 appeal at King George Square. Lunch time shoppers were helped to fill a red bag by Brisbane Lions stars at the Red Bag ‘pop-up shop,’ with grocery items donated by Drakes Supermarkets.
Mr Reis said Wesley Mission Queensland’s Emergency Relief Hub at Fortitude Valley sees up to 750 clients visiting each week to receive free lunch packs, a hot meal or support with tenancy, budgeting, addictions, mental health, advocacy, casework or counselling.
“As the only inner-city service offering emergency relief every day, with no appointment required, the number of clients accessing the service continues to grow,” Mr Reis said.
“In the past financial year, the service has distributed more than 5,000 free food hampers and over 26,000 lunch packs to people in urgent need of emergency food and supplies.”
The Red Bag Christmas Appeal runs from 15 October to 29 November.
Red Bags are available from National Storage facilities in Capalaba, Fortitude Valley, Kedron, Mt Gravatt, Oxley, Yatla, Rothwell and Milton, which are also the drop-off points for donations of grocery items and toys.
People can also donate towards the appeal, with $50 covering the cost to fill a Red Bag.
For more information visit redbagappeal.org.au