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Making Christmas special with a hamper of hope

Julia Malone, The Salvation Army’s Schools Engagement Manager in Victoria, with a hamper of hope.

School students throughout Australia are turning knowledge into action by creating Christmas hampers for struggling families.

Hamper of Hope is a special Christmas initiative facilitated by Salvos Schools, the dedicated schools engagement team for the Salvation Army that aims to equip, empower and engage school communities with social justice and the mission of the Salvation Army.

“Schools are hungry for community connection, and we find they are really engaging with the Hamper of Hope initiative as it asks students to think very consciously about who they are giving to as they put together a hamper for someone in need” said Grace Davidson, National Schools Engagement Coordinator.

“In light of the pandemic, today's students are more aware of challenges for struggling families. There is an increased sense of empathy and motivation for students to get involved.”

Students are invited to fill a bag with eight or more non-perishable food items to form a complete hamper for someone doing it tough. Salvos Schools supply a suggested ‘shopping list’ to help decide on appropriate items. An individual student, or class, family, or small group can work together to create the Christmas hampers.

“Schools are a powerful force when they come together and get involved in an initiative like this. The food donations go a long way to make sure people have access to some Christmas joy and practical support through the summer period,” Grace said. “In our education sessions, we are having so many heartening conversations as students are inspired to take social justice action.”

Boroondara Park Primary School in Victoria has been a supporter of Hamper of Hope since it was established. In 2022, the school donated more than 350 filled hampers.

Hampers of Hope under the giving tree at Boroondara Park Primary School 2022.

Principal Susanne Lowe reflected, “Each year, the Christmas tree is in place in the foyer, the posters are up around the school and information is shared with the community. As the number of items under the tree increases students are amazed each day when they walk past. They are able to see the generosity of our community growing before their eyes.”

Last year, the Hamper of Hope initiative saw more than 3100 hampers donated by schools across the Territory. In 2023, Salvos Schools hopes to significantly increase Hamper of Hope donations.

“The Hampers of Hope initiative means more people can feel some festive joy and hope in the holiday period,” Grace said. “It is such a practical way for students to take social justice action and support their community at this time of year.”

Corps that wish to engage with their local schools can contact Salvos Schools for resources. For a school engagement toolkit, click here.

For more information or to register, click here.

An example of the variety of contents in a hamper.


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