St Clare’s High School students and community volunteers gathered in the school’s hall on Tuesday, December 12 to prepare Christmas hampers for distribution.
This was a part of the St Vincent de Paul Society Christmas Hamper Appeal, which supports families who require practical support with food items during the Christmas season.
St Clare’s chaplain and regional president of the St Vincent de Paul Society Vince Ryan said the appeal has received a record intake of goods and hopes that 200 hampers will be created and distributed.
"It's a wonderful event celebrating our Christmas season and part of what we're doing is looking after those members of our community who struggle at this time of year,” Mr Ryan said.
"What we're trying to do is provide them with food to help them and give them a sense of hope and that our community cares.”
Donations for the appeal came from the Taree and Wingham Catholic parishes, St Clare’s High School, St Joseph’s Primary School Taree and Catholic Care as well as businesses Bunnings Warehouse Taree, L.J. Hooker Old Bar, Coles, Andy's Cake Kitchen and Manning Valley Property and Livestock.
Many groups and individuals also held fundraisers to assist in the appeal.
"They've been very generous with their support,” Mr Ryan said.
Mr Ryan added that the demand for the appeal has increased as many people struggle with high energy costs and personal challenges.
“Vinnies is deeply appreciative of everyone who was involved in any way in this wonderful community effort,” Mr Ryan said.
Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead was on hand to help the volunteers and students prepare the hampers.
"The community's heart beats stronger when we help those most in need.
"To come here and help the students who have donated the products and produce is absolutely fantastic.
"It just shows you that our community really does pull together at times like Christmas.
"We have a fantastic community and this is an example of it working together,” Mr Bromhead said.
Volunteer Cecily Minihan thanked all those who donated to the appeal.
"The generosity has been wonderful," she said.
Donations to the appeal can still be made at the St Vincent de Paul store on Pulteney Street, Taree or St Clare’s High School.