Monday, December 19, 2011

The Season for Giving - Basket Brigade

As a Mum, I always find the lead up to Christmas a challenging time to balance between the commercialism of Christmas by retailers and malls versus the true meaning of Christmas. As my girls grow older, I like them to know that Christmas is not just about the presents they will receive and Santa's lists, but to consider those who may not be able to celebrate Christmas due to the different circumstances. Fortunately, the girls learning early at school about giving as their school organises Christmas hampers and gifts for families in need every year. Each class is allocated a family and families are asked to buy gifts and food items that are appropriate. That's the start of the season of giving for us.

This year, Ashleigh and I did something different. We joined the Basket Brigade (thanks Michaeline for asking) for a half day of packing Christmas hampers in a warehouse located in inner Sydney. The hampers are packed to the brim with food items, Christmas presents and a card. It was a great opportunity to give back. The warehouse was huge and the packing had already started since the morning when we arrived. After registration, we went to pick up an empty box and joined the long line of people. As one moves along the production line, food items are placed into the box. At the end of the line, presents are placed at the top for the families. About 5000 boxes were packed that day for families in need, refugees and the homeless. The food items and presents are sourced from various avenues - some are donated by corporations and employees from various organisations; some are purchased at bulk discounted or cost prices from monetary donations that Basket Brigade have asked for. It warmed my heart to see the number of volunteers who turned out to lend a hand (about 500 people in total); from the young children to seniors. Many hands make light work and everyone was ready to pitch in to do their bit.
Empty boxes waiting to be filled.
Image credit: Michaeline Lee

More boxes
Image credit: Michaeline Lee
Start of the production line (after picking an empty box - Ash on left)

End of production line - boxes are piled with presents and sealed ready for delivery

Contents in the box - pasta sauce, dry pasta, biscuits, rice, tuna, promite (vegemite), baked beans,
jelly crystals, ready to eat sauces, jam, milo, chocolates, chips, noodles, spice mixes
On our way home, Ashleigh and I talked about what we did and how there are many people in the world that have much less than us. I think it gave Ashleigh an insight into how lucky she is. On each of the box, there is a label which tells you some details about the family e.g. F40, F4 and M6 (we thinks it refers to a single mom with two young children); M20, M20, M16, F14, F12, F6 (we assumed a family of children with no parents). Ashleigh wants to return next year and she is planning to rope in her friends too.

We had fun warms my heart to see the number of volunteers who make a difference. The world is not as selfish as its often portrayed in the media.
Breaking up the extra boxes to keep
To learn more about how you can help, check out the Magic Moments Foundation website here.


  1. What an awesome idea and thanks so much for sharing it on my page. N x

  2. Thats great Charmaine. How do we find out where it is next year? I would love for my kids to do this too.
    Adeline x

  3. Naomi: thnks for dropping by.
    Adeline: you can sign up for updates here I'll also keep you posted next year.

  4. This is such a meaningful activity for your kids to join.

  5. What a heart warming post! I love that you did it with Ash. God bless!

  6. you can find out more about the event at

    it runs every christmas, sign up for newsletters for future events.