Centacare’s Children Services Unit has been packing and wrapping gifts for households engaged with the Unify Family Reunification Services as part of the Brother Michael Hamper Appeal.
Every Christmas, the Appeal distributes more than 200 hampers across Adelaide in memory of its namesake, Brother Michael Kirgan.
Br Michael drove the initiative’s rapid growth in the 1980s from the Glen Osmond Monastery, in order to reach more people doing it tough.
The hampers include a Coles voucher, mixed groceries and a present for each child in families working towards reunification with Unify’s support.
The service works intensively with families who have been separated by the child protection system due to safety concerns and supports parents to make life changes to meet their children’s needs so that they can safely return home.
Unify Manager Sam Carpenter said parents undergoing reunification often lose access to family benefits which can lead to housing stress and financial strain.
“The hampers take away a little bit of that stress because the families not only have access to food but the hope that comes with knowing they can provide for their children,’’ Sam said.
“Often the children and young people have returned to their birth family from foster placements.
“To be able to go back to where they have an emotional connection, knowing their physical needs will be met too, is a really important part of their transition home.’’
This year, 47 children and young people have been reunified, making their Christmas particularly special.
CSU staff spent yesterday packing hampers with goods donated by members of the Mater Christi Church, Seaton parish, and the Spanish community after overwhelming donations of festive food, pantry staples and assorted gifts.
Staff members Tyson and Dee said they were “very humbled” and “blessed” to have so many items donated to clients, many of whom had been phoning the office asking for food.
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