HELPING HAND: Shirley Bishop, Ann Condon, Desley Neal, Dale McVicar, Sam Viner and Jim Viner at St Patrick's College.
HELPING HAND: Shirley Bishop, Ann Condon, Desley Neal, Dale McVicar, Sam Viner and Jim Viner at St Patrick's College. Jacob Carson

Local Vinnies provide more than a festive feed

THE room at St Patrick's College was nearly filled to the brim with food and goodies this morning, as a dedicated team of volunteers worked tirelessly to put the final touches on a very special Christmas treat.

Spearheaded by the local chapter of the St Vincent de Paul Society, the initiative has seen a number of local businesses and organisations provide hampers for struggling families across the region.

"It's something we've been doing for the community for years,” president of the Gympie District Beef Liaison Group Jim Viner says.

"Gympie is a lot bigger than it used to be, but I think that community spirit is as alive as ever.”

The District Beef Liaison Group will be donating $500 to the hamper appeal, with those funds going to provide a wider variety of beef for families in need.

Mr Viner added that when a business takes care of the community, the community shows their appreciation in a number of ways.

"It's a great way of promoting local while also giving out a helping hand,” he says.

The team at Ken Simpson's My Butcher have also chipped in, providing donations and rump roasts for the appeal.

"The meat is coming from Nolan's, so it's local and of a high quality,” says butcher Dale McVicar.

"The goal, ultimately, is to provide something families around town might not be able to afford.”

Each hamper is tailor made for individual families to ensure the food within is appropriate and appreciated by the recipients

"It's a much better way of doing things; I think people really appreciate the effort we go to,” says Vinnies member Shirley Bishop.

"It really is quite the operation we have going here.”

The hampers are expected to be handed out tomorrow at the Gympie distribution centre, with Ms Bishop asking recipients to remember their identifying slip of paper when they line up.

"It's easy for people to write off Gympie - some look down on the town, but this goes to show the care this community has for one another,” Ms Bishop said.