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Dec 22, 2020

The ripple effect of the Red Bag Appeal

Tags: Crisis relief, Fundraising

Man wearing Wesley Mission Queensland shirt smiles as he hands over a red grocery bag

When the Red Bag Appeal first started six years ago, no one knew the reach and impact it would have on the lives of Queenslanders. This Christmas, over 4000 Queenslanders will receive a hamper full of Christmas groceries, providing them both the essentials they need but also joy and hope. With the help from over 120 volunteers that supported WMQ in re-packing the Red Bags and over 100 volunteers who assisted our gift wrapping service at Westfield Chermside, the ripple effect of people showing compassion and dedicating their time is inspiring and heartfelt.  

This year has been particularly tough, with COVID-19 rocking the world and its economy. Over 70,000 Queenslanders are currently experiencing poverty, with unemployment rates increasing and for the first time in three decades, we are living in a recession.  Andrea was one of many who were affected by the pandemic and her story starts with travelling to Australia from Columbia to immerse herself in a new culture and language.  

“When the pandemic hit is wasn’t sure what to do. My language school told me about the Brisbane Relief Hub, so I came here to find help,” said Andrea. “That’s when I met Michael, who become my counsellor. I received food relief and help with my resume to try and find a job. Even though I feel sad and anxious sometimes, I know I can come here and receive help.” 

“I was so happy to receive help from the Brisbane Relief Hub, that I wanted to give back,” continues Andrea. “So, I started volunteering. Every week I come to help cook food and serve others at the weekly BBQ. It was so nice to be part of a wonderful, caring team. Every day we can help someone else… it’s beautiful.” 

This year our Red Bag will be available from Brisbane Relief Hub, Elorac Place, Eagleby Neighbourhood Centre, Beenleigh Family Centre, Logan Youth Services, Balmoral Uniting Community Care Centre, Ipswich STARH Program, YHES House, Toowoomba Uniting Church and The Gap Community.  

Paul Reis, WMQ’s Fundraising General Manager, says this year has been tough for everyone, especially for people who have lost a job, suffered financially because of the economic downturn, experienced an increase in mental health concerns and domestic violence. “What I love about the Red Bag appeal is the response we get from people when we deliver the bags to those doing it tough. The smile on their face and their sense of relief as the pressure and expense of Christmas has been lifted. Each year I am blown away with the generosity of the community that give to the appeal. From volunteers to donations, they all contribute to making someone’s Christmas a better one.”   

Red Bag Appeal would not be possible without the generosity and support from our sponsors National Storage and RTL Trades.  

Each year this appeal brings joy and happiness to those that need it most. Wesley Mission Queensland are here to support those and hear their story, because your story is our story.  

To learn more about the Red Bag Appeal, visit our webpage.