41 Christmases ago, David Brown, Rotary Club of Manly past president and Community Service Director, along with two other Manly Rotarian Committee members; Marcus Blackmore and the Blackmores Factory Manager, Allen Oliver, suggested a project to give a Christmas Hamper to the needy via the local charities. The Rotary Club of Manly's President at the time was David Park, who approved the project.
In the first 20 years, Blackmores provided the space for Manly Rotarians to pack the hampers and store them on pallets until the following Monday at Blackmores Balgowlah, when there were collected by the Manly Rotary nominated charities. Blackmores paid for the hamper items and Rotary Club of Manly did the purchasing. It was initially 200 hampers.
For the second 21 years, after Blackmores moved to Warriewood, the Blackmores name was added as a co-sponsor of the project. Hamper totals were increased to 300 and the local Rotary club, Mona Vale, was invited to provide half the packing volunteers.
For the first 10 years at the Warriewood Campus, Marcus’s Executive Assistant and David Brown jointly did the ordering of the hamper items. She retired and the Corporate Affairs Manager, Amanda Judge took over the complete ordering of the Hamper items, with Blackmores Trust paying for the items, leaving David free to organise the Rotary packing volunteers and select and liaise with the distributing charities on behalf of Manly Rotary, as he has since the project started.
Hamper total was increased to 400.
In 2020, NSW health regulations stopped volunteers working within the Blackmores Manufacturing Factory complex at Warriewood due to Covid 19. As it was our 40th Anniversary, Marcus, Blackmores and David (on behalf of Manly Rotary) wanted the 2020 Christmas hamper project to happen.
Blackmores contacted the Sunnyfield Association to sub-contract hamper packing. David then advised the 16 charity recipients to pick up the 400 hampers from Sunnyfield. He had to arrange different loading times to fit in with Sunnyfield’s own warehouse arrival and despatch programme. He spent a day being on hand to co-ordinate the hamper collections. In addition to this, Blackmores asked if he would spend time at Sunnyfield to assist in training the Sunnyfield workers on how to pack the hampers correctly.
The 2020 Manly Rotary/Blackmores Christmas hampers was welcomed by the needy in the middle of COVID.
The NSW health regulations are still in place for Christmas 2021, stopping the use of Rotary volunteer packers at Warriewood. Blackmores have a newly established Distribution centre at Eastern Creek which does not manufacture and is not subject to the same NSW Health regulations. Both Raff, the Blackmores Corporate Affairs Director, and David, on behalf of Manly Rotary, were keen to continue the 41st year of Christmas Hampers, with Covid still affecting needy families.
It was decided to arrange for packing to take place at the Distribution Centre with Blackmores covering the extra costs of a courier. It was David's job to arrange with the charities to be able to receive their hamper allocation at set times; co-ordinate packing on pallets in delivery order at the Distribution Centre and map out a delivery routing involving Allambie Heights, Frenchs Forest, Dee Why, Brookvale, Manly Vale and Manly with the courier.
The driver rang all the recipients with an approx. delivery time and again on approach.
Everything went according to plan. The truck was loaded at Eastern Creek from 7 am with the first deliveries in Manly after 9 am and last delivery at Allambie Heights at 2.15 pm.
If Covid health regulations allow it, Manly Rotary and UNB Rotary volunteers will be packing again at Blackmore’s Warriewood for the Rotary Club of Manly’s 42nd year.
2021, a special year...
As an added bonus in 2021, a new Manly Rotarian, Kenton Farrow, had a conversation with KLS Martin Australia, who wanted to make a Festive contribution to those most vulnerable in our community and who have endured a very difficult year.
As a seperate project, KLS Martin were also planning on doing so by distributing Christmas Hampers to the most needy in our society!
The Rotary Club of Manly took KLS Martin's budget of 30 Hampers and with the leverage and support of our Partners, Providers and Member contributions expanded to over 57 more Hampers!
Volunteers helped with the packaging and distribution at one of the Manly Rotarian's homes.
The Beneficiaries of these Hampers included:
Lighthouse for the Community
A valuable shelter providing safe and secure support to vulnerable women and children who are victims of domestic violence
Northern Beaches Community Pantry
A small underfunded facility providing support to the most disadvantaged in our community
Homes for Heroes
There are over 3000 military veterans sleeping rough around Australia. H for H provides rehabilitation for mental and physical issues and accommodation for these young veterans adjusting to life after service.
“On behalf of Lifeline Northern Beaches, we would like to express our sincere thanks for your donation of Christmas Hampers, which you delivered this week.
Our clients who will receive these hampers, are very much in need, and I am sure will be grateful for the help, at this time of year.
It is heartening to have organisations like Rotary Club of Manly to assist us with helping our clients. Thank you for your ongoing support."
Caroline and Angela, Office Managers Lifeline Northern Beaches
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