Inaugural Christmas Hampers for Heroes project delivers hope to 200 WA Veterans

Christmas Hampers for Heroes
RSLWA State Welfare Officer Rosalind Howat delivers some Christmas cheer to Army Veteran Andrew Sonter, pictured here with assistance dog Rocky.

THERE’s been an upswell of love and support for RSLWA’s inaugural Christmas Hampers for Heroes program, which has ensured 200 socially isolated or cash-strapped Veterans won’t go hungry this Christmas.

As we all know, the festive season can be an extremely stressful and challenging time, specially for those doing it a little tough at the moment, so RSLWA decided to get stuck in, raise some cash and make sure nobody in the metropolitan area went hungry this Christmas.

And we were blown away by the response … the gratitude of our Veterans was well and truly matched by that of the many Sub-Branch Presidents who embraced this program, picking up their assigned hampers from designated Foodbanks for distribution within their communities (one-hundred times thankyou, you legends know who you are!!).

READ MORE: How PTSD nearly cost this Veteran everything

One recipient could not wipe the smile off his face after receiving his hamper packed full of food.

The former soldier, who is getting on top of his once-crippling PTSD thanks to careful management, said that with the constant rise in the cost of utility bills, he’d started worrying that he would not be able to make his dwindling budget stretch over the festive season.

He was facing the decision of choosing between feeding himself and paying the bills.

The surprise hamper meant that he could enjoy a stress-free Christmas.

Adding to the joy was the financial generosity from within our own Veteran community ($900 donated by caring individuals to our fundraising page) , and some very generous philanthropists.

While there were some very special everyday Veterans who quietly returned two or three times to donate privately to our appeal, there were also some organisations that must be thanked from the bottom of our hearts.

They are:

Masonic Care WA – thanks to Deputy Chairman Don Blair – which donated $1500;

Mandurah RSL (via the regimental Pig’s table dinners) – with a wonderfully generous donation of $1000;

The Scottish Masonic Charitable Foundation  – with a much-appreciated and very generous $2500.

And the Mandurah Murray Vietnam & Veterans Group – with a beautiful $455 raised for the program.

And special thanks to our beautiful Poppy Ladies, who donated some shopping vouchers as a little extra bonus for a few hamper recipients.

To our country Sub-Branches, we have some great news. This trial was so successful that RSLWA intends rolling it out to major regional centres next year.

Stay tuned and have yourselves a joyful Christmas! – By MAXINE BROWN 


Christmas Hampers for Heroes
Masonic Care WA Deputy Chairman Don Blair presents a $1500 Christmas Hampers For Heroes cheque to RSLWA President Peter Aspinall.
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