BCE staff dig deep for Brisbane families

​​Fr Wally ​(fourth from right) and his helpers are ready to deliver hampers in time for Christmas

BRISBANE Catholic Education Office (BCEO) staff have again dug deep during Advent to help 25 Brisbane families doing it tough this Christmas. 

Filling hampers with Christmas gifts and groceries, staff rallied behind BCE's Adopt-a-Family program for the 18th year running to support families who are experiencing hardship. 

When Fr Wally Dethlefs first shared the Adopt-A-Family story with BCE in 2003, the program was enthusiastically taken up by BCEO staff. 

Fr Dethlefs said every year it always amazes him to see the reaction of families when they receive the generous Christmas hampers. 

“For many of these people Christmas can be a time of great stress with lot of them disengaged from extended family or communities, and with little or no support to get them through it," Fr Dethlefs said. 

“Then these gifts arrive from people they don't know, and possibly whom they'll never know, and it fills them with a feeling of wellbeing and contentment." 

Coordinated by BCE Business Services Coordinator Helen Hartwig since 2015, the program encourages staff to live out Gospel values by promoting the dignity of every person. 

Helen said in the lead up to Advent, staff are provided with the first name, age and some details of an individual family's situation. 

She said this helped form a real connection with the “adopted family" rather than giving donations to unknown recipients. 

When the hampers leave the Woolloongabba office another band of helpers donate their time to deliver them to the adopted families. 

Sue Treweek has been one of those helping Fr Dethlefs deliver the hampers to families in time for Christmas.  

As a former hamper recipient herself, Ms Treweek said through the program they had an opportunity to reach out and give a hand to those who “life had beaten down".  

She said she was amazed by the generosity of the BCE office staff every year. 

"It shows people are willing to share their faith with others with no strings or expectations attached," Ms Treweek said. 

“Through their efforts and unconditional non-judgemental giving, it also shows neighbours, friends, community and families of our hamper recipient families that there is hope," she said. 

Fr Dethlefs said the generosity of BCEO staff every year was extraordinary and, in the words of St Mary MacKillop, they, “never see a need without doing something about it" as they supported the program in a non-judgemental and compassionate way. 

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