Christmas is a time for giving and the staff at Australian Mutual Bank are truly embracing the holiday spirit with many wonderful volunteering opportunities seeing our team roll up their sleeves to lend a hand and give back to the community.

Sadly, the festive season is not always a time for cheer and for many families who are already struggling to stay afloat, Christmas time can add extra pressure to those already feeling overwhelmed due to financial stress or hardship. As the cost of living in Australia continues to put families in crisis, Barnardos Australia has seen an increase in the number of requests for their services – many from those who have never sought help before.

In preparation of the extra services needed this festive season, Barnardos Australia has been running food drives to create hampers to gift to families doing it tough this Christmas. To ensure that the food hampers would be ready in time, staff from Australian Mutual Bank have volunteered to help prepare the hampers and spread some festive cheer for a good cause.

Staff volunteers Ania, Natalie, and Rebecca enthusiastically gathered at the Barnardos Children's Family Centre in Penrith last week, excited to participate in the Christmas hamper packing session this year. When they arrived, they were greeted by Barnardos staff who explained the process of packing the hampers. The hampers were to be filled with a variety of non-perishable food items that had been generously donated by the community.

Ania, who also attended the hamper packing event last year, was delighted to return stating that the day provided a rewarding experience for those who can help. “We take for granted the amount of food that's available on the table during the festive season, but to witness firsthand just how little some people have to share really puts things into perspective. We should all do more to help those in need. As a volunteer there's nothing more rewarding than seeing the amazing work that Barnardos does for the community. Without their generosity and goodwill, some families would go without." said Ania.

Natalie echoed the sentiment highlighting that the volunteering day was a fulfilling experience as Barnardos staff shared stories of families in crisis and explained the significance of their efforts. “I enjoyed contributing to the local community, and it was a lot of fun too.” said Natalie. 

For Rebecca, this was her first time volunteering to help assemble the Christmas hampers. “It gave me immense satisfaction that I was able to help put these food hampers together for families that have nothing so they can enjoy a meal on Christmas Day. We don’t realise that there are many families struggling with the cost of living and need a little extra help so that they don’t miss out at Christmas.” said Rebecca. “I would say to anyone thinking about volunteering or even making a donation this Christmas, to just do it as it will bring you great joy giving back to the community.”.

There was a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day as our team’s effort resulted in over 150 Christmas hampers being made, to be distributed to families in need this festive season. This is a wonderful gift of kindness for these families who will appreciate the gesture long after the holiday season has passed.

20 December 2023