Imagine waking up on Christmas morning to having no presents, no tree and barely enough food to feed yourself, let alone your family.
That is the harsh reality for thousands of people living in south-east Queensland, who are experiencing homelessness or are struggling to meet the daily cost of living.
“My wife, Bec, and I went through a rough patch a few years back,” Jae Martin said.
“It never got to the point where we lost the roof over our heads or needed assistance, but going through it and talking with others who have gone through worse themselves – and how they overcame those struggles – really opened our eyes.
“That’s why we wanted to do something to help those in need and give back to the community.”
For the past three years, Mr Martin – the owner of a coffee shop at Jimboomba, named Mondaze – has rallied to raise enough donations to create gift hampers at Christmas.
“The first year we put together 50 bags – full of minced pies, mini pavlovas, bottles of water and torches – and gave them to a shelter in Spring Hill,” he said.
“Now, we have a team of at least 20 people that help us put together the hampers to donate, and we have really narrowed down what we put in each bag so it doesn’t go off and the recipients can use what’s in there over a long period of time.”
On Saturday, the Jimboomba-based group packed 1000 hampers to distribute on Christmas day.
A company in Sydney also put together an additional 500 hampers.
“We raised about $5000 since October and had a lot of items donated from businesses around the region,” Mr Martin said.
“There are a lot of people out there who need a helping hand, and it’s the least we can do as a community to help them through that time.”
The hampers, excluding the bags based in Sydney, will be distributed to charities, shelters and organisations around the region – including Brisbane, the Sunshine and Gold coasts, Byron Bay, Logan and Hervey Bay.
“We just want to keep getting bigger and we’re always interested in hearing from anyone who wants to get involved,” Mr Martin said.
“I’m hoping to do at least double the amount of hampers we did this year; but until then, I just want to thank the community for their time and support in helping this project grow.”
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