A community organisation in Warrawong is calling for help to make this Christmas - its last in the existing community centre - a memorable one for the people it serves.
Warrawong Residents Forum (WRF) is putting together Christmas hampers for vulnerable individuals and families, as well as collecting gifts to ensure every child has a present to unwrap come December 25.
The organisation provides food relief, information, advocacy, support with access to other services, and social groups.
Manager Ash Castro said demand had been rising over the year.
In the 2022-23 financial year, WRF fed 8663 people through its food initiatives, which include community lunches, and bags of groceries and fresh produce.
"A lot more families are coming through the door with young children," Mr Castro said.
He said factors like rent increases and job losses were playing a role.
There were people seeking help who had never needed to do so before, Mr Castro said, such as one couple he recently met whose daughter and granddaughter had had to move in with them.
The organisation is aiming to put together 200 Christmas hampers this year, having given out 164 in 2022 - plus a gift for every child who was registered.
Mr Castro said this year's target was derived from last year's learnings as well as increasing demand for WRF's services.
"Last year was epic, there was an amazing response from the community with donations of food, and also funds and gifts," he said.
Mr Castro is looking for food that will provide meals throughout the holiday period and other festive items.
Donations of gifts suitable for children aged up to 16 are also welcomed, with 284 children on the organisation's books at present.
People can also make monetary donations through the organisation's website at wrf.org.au.
For one mother and her child, Mr Castro said, receiving a hamper made the Christmas period a bit more festive after a tough year.
He said people also reported they were able to keep themselves going with the hamper goods over WRF's closure period.
This Christmas will mark WRF's last in the existing Warrawong Community Centre, which has been its home for over 30 years.
The building will be demolished in 2024 to make way for a new community centre and library.
Mr Castro is working through the process of finding a suitable temporary location for WRF.
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