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16/12/19

Sovereign Hills spreads cheer to those in need this Christmas

Port Macquarie-Hastings locals in need and those ravaged by the drought and bushfires will receive a helping hand this Christmas thanks to Sovereign Hills.

The Lewis Land Group’s master planned community was delighted to donate Christmas food items and Sovereign Place Town Centre IGA gift vouchers to the Salvation Army and Farmer Joe’s Pantry to distribute ahead of Christmas.

Salvation Army Port Macquarie-Hastings is providing Christmas hampers and gifts to more than 170 local families this festive season.

“People come in and put their hand up for help,” shared Major Kevin Unicomb. “They are single parent families, single men and women, and the homeless… Some of them we already know through helping them throughout the year.”

The charitable organisation has been extra busy providing catering to emergency crews assisting the bushfire response effort and support to families affected by the drought in country areas closer to home than many people realise.

“The drought was already impacting families heavily and then the fires really changed everything.”

Enter Farmer Joe’s Pantry, a bustling food pantry at Wauchope, started by Port Macquarie Sunrise Rotarian Pam Foye.

Launched on 11 November, Farmer Joe’s Pantry was designed to help local farmers and those affected by the fires. It’s a place where affected community members from across the Mid North Coast can visit and fill their pantry with essential food items.

“We’re seeing a mixture of farmers doing it really tough with the drought and also fire victims,” explained Mrs Foye.

“We only have non-perishable foods and toiletries, pet food and water. Water is a really big one they are always after… We have very little Christmas product in the pantry and these donated items will be in high demand as will be the vouchers. To be able to say to someone ‘go into IGA and get your fruit and veggies and some ham or a chicken, or some sort of protein’, is amazing.

“We have lots of tears. I just love to see them walk away with a boot full of things.”

The demand for help is expected to continue long after the festive season is over as affected locals try to get back on their feet.

If you would like to support the Salvation Army, you can do so by making a donation to the welfare centre at Lord Street, Port Macquarie.

Farmer Joe’s Pantry is open Wednesday and Friday from 10am to 2pm at 19 Commerce Street, Wauchope.