Tears and joy as Christmas appeal helps drought affected community

Thanks to the generosity of the Bonner community, more than $5000 was raised through the Ross Vasta Christmas Appeal for Stanthorpe to help bring some Christmas cheer to the drought and bushfire affected region.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said Team Vasta and representatives from GIVIT online charity visited the region on Tuesday to distribute the donations, and the community response was both overwhelming and humbling.

“We joined GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant to help buy goods and vouchers for people in need, and the response from the community was just outstanding,” Mr Vasta said.

“Stanthorpe’s St Vincent de Paul Society branch identified a number of families needing support, so we went to work purchasing good and vouchers from IGA, some toys to ensure these kids would be visited by Santa, as well as vouchers to buy school uniforms.

“Thank you to everyone who donated to this appeal. You have helped bring so much joy and relief to those who really need it.”

GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant said all funds received were spent at local businesses to further support the regional community.

“We purchased hair dressing vouchers from Stanthorpe salons, and gift cards from a local family-operated service station to provide some relief to drought-affected farmers,” Ms Tennant said.

“Hampers of household essentials, children’s toys, gift vouchers and festive mince pies we also donated to lighten the financial pressures on families celebrating what’s been an extremely testing year.

“As well as visiting St Vincent de Paul, we gave festive items for Christmas care packages to Granite Belt Drought Assist’s facility where people across the region can access vital donations of water.”

Ms Tennant said they had barely driven out of the city when Lee Stroud from St Vincent de Paul – Stanthorpe called to say she had already given some donations to a local family in need.

“The mum was so overwhelmed. She was nearly speechless and so grateful,” Ms Tennant said.

“We were so happy to partner with Ross Vasta to help bring some Christmas cheer to the Stanthorpe community during such a tough time.

“GIVIT is here for the long-term for the Southern Darling Downs region, as well as all communities in need across Queensland.”

Mr Vasta said he was pleased they had already received some heart-warming responses from the community.

“Sally Orreal from Stanthorpe Sport and Camping said she had goosebumps and was holding back tears when we came in to shop up a storm for toys for local kids,” Mr Vasta said.

“She thanked Team Vasta and GIVIT with a big hug for buying locally.”

Items donated are listed below:

Lee Stroud, St Vincent de Paul – Stanthorpe

4 x $50 Stanthorpe Quality Meats butcher
2x $40 haircut vouchers
4 x $50 Howard & Son’s Mitre 10
$400 worth of Spano’s IGA Stanthorpe $20 vouchers
20 Toys purchased from local sports shop
100 groceries including cleaning products and hygiene products
12 Chrisco hampers
Pack of bonds singlets baby
1 baby skirt
5 x $80 fuel from Stanthorpe Fuel & Services
19 Christmas cards/decorations

Glenda Riles – Granite Belt Drought Assist

4 x $100 Gleesons Mercery, school uniform vouchers
2 x $40 hair cut vouchers
4 x $50 Howard & Son’s Mitre 10
4 x $50 Stanthorpe Quality Meats butcher
4 x $80 fuel from Stanthorpe Fuel & Services
$620 worth of Spano’s IGA Stanthorpe $20 vouchers
25 toys
Large Box of hanes underwear
10 Chrisco hampers

Sandra Head – Southern Downs Emergency Relief

10x $50 BP Fuel vouchers
10x $50 Spano’s IGA Warwick
10x $50 Woolworths wish cards – donated from Queensland Rail

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