ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS….
As our attention turns towards Christmas preparations I wonder if you can remember your first Christmas present. Like me your memory is probably a little fuzzy with each Christmas that passes and the gifts we received being a blur. But there will always be one, maybe two, Christmas gifts that stand out in our memories – we will remember them for the impact they had on our lives at the time, and maybe still have today.
There are many families in Uganda, in the communities of Kasubi and Abim who distinctly remember their very first Christmas gift. It was one of those gifts that they will always remember. It was a gift that made Christmas a little easier to get through. It was a gift that made them smile, that bought happiness to their household. It was a gift that made a difference in their lives.
It was a useful gift. One that contained staple food products such as rice, beans, posho, salt and cooking oil. It was a gift that would enable their family to eat a good meal for about a week. There was also some fresh produce such as tomatoes, onions and bananas to add some variety to their meals. This gift also contained hygiene products such as washing soap and toilet paper which afforded them the basics of life. There were also some luxury items such as sweet biscuits, bread rolls and a few lollies for the children - items that we would not consider ‘luxurious’ but items out of reach for many families in these communities. All of these goods were held in a plastic basin that would become a useful tool for the family for washing clothes, bathing or storage.
This gift was a Christmas Food Hamper from Operation Uganda and given on behalf of those, like you and me, who had purchased them. Maybe you purchased this gift on behalf of a loved one or maybe you purchased this gift just for the sake of giving generously. Either way your gift brought joy in so many ways.
For the past 8 years Operation Uganda has been giving Christmas Food Hampers to vulnerable families in some of the poorest communities in urban and rural Uganda. Families where the mother is the sole parent of 6 to 8 children, families who have been shunned because of their HIV status, families who are subsistence farmers affected by drought and families who care for many children who are not their own because they have been orphaned.
This year, when you purchase your Christmas Food Hamper for just AUD$30, you will know that a child who has known the ache of hunger will sit down to a hot meal and enjoy a special treat such as a sweet biscuit or a lolly. A mother will see the smiles on the faces of her children and know that despite her circumstances she has been blessed by someone she will probably never meet but has thoughtfully given out of what they have this Christmas.
A huge THANK YOU to those of you who have already purchased a Christmas Food Hamper. Our goal this year is to purchase and distribute 800 hampers. Because of your generosity 800 families will be smiling this Christmas! Please share this story and keep up-to-date with our current hamper tally on our Facebook page.