SAVED: Struggling Warwick families to have Merry Christmas
STRUGGLING Warwick families will still have a merry Christmas this year thanks to the generosity of the Rose City community.
Food and toys will be given where there would otherwise be none and local community groups have people lining up to collect the much-needed goods.
New research by Roy Morgan as part of the The Salvation Army's Christmas Appeal revealed a shocking 1.6million Australians with children aged under 10 would not be able to give them a gift this year.
This is a more than 1million increase compared to last year.
Lighthouse Community Centre co-ordinator Pamela Fletcher said Warwick families were among those doing it tough.
"(There are) a lot of parents not being able to afford presents and a lack of special food for Christmas time and a lot of loneliness," she said.
"Some people are quite depressed and perhaps not coping as well as they could be."
The centre put together Christmas food hampers for those in need and is also able to provide presents for children who would otherwise go without.
"We said we wouldn't take any names until December and on the first Monday they were lining up at the door waiting to put their names down," she said.
Mrs Fletcher said more people had been approaching the centre for help this year, particularly for food.
"The total cost of living has increased quite substantially in the last year and I think a lot of people are struggling with that, particularly people on fixed incomes," she said.
Scots PGC donated more than 70 shopping bags worth of food and Uniting Care offered gift cards.
Residents also gave donations through the centre's op shop and under a Christmas tree set up at Target Country.
Supervisor Daphne Porter said the assistance helped people cope with Christmas.
"Some of them end up in tears, saying they'd never have had it if it wasn't for us," she said.
The Salvation Army Warwick Corps community support worker Erin Wilson said 50 Warwick children were set to receive presents thanks to a national toy drive.
Warwick residents gave generously, with collection points set up at the Warwick Hospital, Southern Downs Dental and Rose City Shoppingworld.
Independent donations were also made directly to the office.
"It means people who may be without feel that people do care and it gives them hope," Miss Wilson said.
The St Vincent de Paul Society in Warwick will also make a difference this Christmas, with hampers already distributed with food, toys and other essential items for those in need.
CornerStone Program co-ordinator Jackie Doyle said donations had been received throughout the year.
Assistance was also provided by Assumption College, as every class took on a 'companion' family or single person to donate food or other items to. St Mary's Catholic Primary School also contributed.
"Every parent wants to be able to give their children a special gift at Christmas time and because they're on fixed and low income when they struggle week by week, to find that extra to buy presents, sometimes the budget doesn't stretch to offer those extras," she said.
"There are a lot of generous and caring people in Warwick and they do the little things, that world of difference, and put a smile of people's faces."
Those looking for support can put their name down at the Lighthouse Community Centre between 9am and 1pm. The cut-off for toys is today and food hampers tomorrow.