The wet and uncertain weather certainly did not dampen our spirits, as 185 volunteers gathered at Unidus Community Centre for Christmas 4 Kids on Saturday, 6th December 2014!

Christmas 4 Kids is an annual Christmas event organised by Hands of Hope, the community arm of Hope Church. Its main objective is to generously bless the local community in the south-western suburbs of Brisbane, especially where there is higher disadvantage and lower income.

This year, we saw close to 300 people from the local community attending Christmas 4 Kids, including over 160 kids. This year’s theme was Simply Christmas. Wanting to keep the true meaning of Christmas as the emphasis, we decided to go for a laid-back approach with Christmas 4 Kids this year. Kids and families were free to enjoy over 15 carnival games and live music throughout. The kids had so much fun at our giant games, face painting, balloon twisting, arts and craft, tug-of-war, animal bouncers, and a variety of carnival games like ring-around-the-bottle and toss-and-win. Mario and his team also showed up for a dance performance and dance-along.

The highlight of the event was a storytelling session and Christmas carols. Here, the story of Christmas, about the birth of the Saviour of the world, was told in a fun and light-hearted way, topped off with some sing-a-long carols.

Despite the cloudy weather, we got the sausage sizzle running and were ready to serve some hungry kids and families by lunch. For the second year running, we asked for sweet treats and desserts donation, and this year, thanks to the generosity of our donors, we collected over 800 pieces of sweet treats, enough for everyone to have more than one piece!

Halfway through the event, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services showed up in their fire truck and Queensland Police Services in their police car to support this local event, as well as promote their services and safety in a fun way. The kids (and adults!) absolutely loved them, and had a fun time exploring the interiors of these vehicles and taking a few photos with them.

We were also joined by local community groups such as Headspace, Anglicare, Inala Youth Service and Australian Care and Trauma Services, who were present to engage with the local community and inform people about the services they provided. They too were well received by the kids and adults present.

It was a fun and engaging day at Christmas 4 Kids, with lots of laughter, joy and smiles in spite of the weather. We definitely cannot wait for Christmas 4 Kids 2015!