With Christmas just a few short weeks away, I wanted to take the opportunity to step away from the commercialisation of the event (ironic given we're a retailer!) and share with you what Christmas means to me. 

Where it all started

In 2011 I attended a personal development seminar where the presentor mentioned that growing up his family were short of money and couldn't have a proper Christmas lunch.

One year, a stranger knocked on the door and handed over a large hamper of food for the family to enjoy. As the presenter grew up and became successful, he remembered the kind gesture from the complete stranger that Christmas and decided that he too would give some hampers to needy families at Christmas.

As he became more successful, he increased the number of hampers distrubuted each year and now through his foundation helps feed more than 1 million families at Christmas. 

First Year - 2011 - 2 Boxes

I found this story very inspirational and figured that I too would like to make a difference to some needy families at Christmas. I went to Aldi spent a couple of hundred bucks filling up a trolley full of breakfast cereals, crackers, chips, lollies, tinned fish, milk, tea coffee, condiments, bon bons, fruit mince pies, puddling, custard and anything Christmas related I could find.

In the end I filled up 2 large boxes full of stuff. Not knowing what to do with the boxes, I called the local church and they sent St Vincent De Pauls around to collect. I'm not affiliated with any church, nor am I religious in any way, I just figured that the church would know which families needed the food a lot more than I do. 

Second Year- 2012- 3 Boxes

The following year I wanted to do something a bit more so I filled 3 large boxes, but because of the huge increase in spit roast sales leading up to Christmas, I left it too late to get St Vincent De Paul to collect them so I ended up taking them to a battered womens shelter in Dandenong. 

Third Year- 2013- 4 Boxes (plus 200 indirectly)

In November 2013, a lady from the local church door knocking all the businesses in the Seaford area asking for donations and/or produce to fill Christmas hampers. I told her that I had donated a couple of boxes 2 years earlier and that I'll definitely be putting some more boxes together this year.

She instantly said "you're the girl who started this".

I had no idea what she was talking about, but as it turned out, the church used to organise a toy drive for local under-priviledged families and one day when the toys were being delivered, the driver only had one toy to give to a family with 5 children. The driver felt terrible as he didn't have any more toys to give and the lady asked if he had any food which he didn't.

As it turns out, it was the very next day that St Vincent De Pauls came and picked up those first 2 hampers that I donanted and delivered them to that family. The lady was crying and as extremely grateful. the driver was obviously touched by the impact this had on the local family and wanted to do more in future years. 

As a result of me donating those first 2 hampers back in 2011, the Seaford Church in conjunction with St Vincent De Paul now arrange 200 hampers of food and distribute them to local families each Christmas. 

In keeping with tradition, in 2013 we increased the number of boxes donated to 4. 

Fouth Year - 2014 - 5 boxes

As busy as we are in our business leading up to Christmas selling loads of spits roasters for people to enjoy their Christmas lunch, it is very important for me to spend a few hours making up these boxes to help people less fortunate than ourselves. It is an extremely humbling experience and even as I'm writing this, I'm getting a lump in my throat.

The feeling that I get knowing that I'm helping people in genuine need is more satisfying than any gift that I personally receive at Christmas or any quantity of spit roasters we sell. I even shared my story with the "checkout chick" and hope that in some way, I inspired her to give to the less fortunate this Christmas. 

I have shared this story not to brag, not to get a pat on the back or for any other self-serving reason. My only motivation for sharing this experience is to inspire others just as I was inspired back in 2011 at the personal development seminar I attended. 

 

  Rhiannon Peterson   By: Rhiannon Peterson

 

Melbourne Showroom - 59 Brunel Road, Seaford, VIC, 3198

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