Wallan Charity Love In Action is desperate for donations in preparation for the Christmas season, and is calling on community members and local businesses for support.

The team is planning to supply Christmas hampers filled with groceries and children’s presents to between 150 and 200 Mitchell Shire families.

President Sarah Brewer said it was more than double the number the group supplied in past years.

“We need you. As desperate and dramatic as that sounds, it’s the truth,” she said.

“We are facing the hardest Christmas we have ever had. Extreme interest rate rises, COVID fall out, inflation and cost of living has seen a very sharp rise in the requests coming through on our service and we are inundated.

“It has also put pressure on local community families who in the past have been able to donate. This year these families who dig deep every year will also struggle and money left to give to Love in Action just won’t be there.”

Ms Brewer listed multiple ways in which individuals could support the Christmas cause, including donating new toys to give to children, as well as Christmas items such as bon bons, shortbread, chocolate stockings, chocolate advent calendars, candy canes, napkins and other Christmas-themed items.

Love In Action team members preparing for the busy Christmas season.

Donation trolleys can be found at Vento Cafe in Wallan, Coles’ Wallan and Kilmore branches and LJ Hooker in Wallan.

Christmas trees are also in Wallan, Kilmore and Broadford Bendigo Bank branches and Casual Cuts in Wallan.

Community members can take a label off these trees with the age and gender of a child in the community to inform a gift purchase.

Other ways to support Love In Action include running a casual clothes day at workplaces to raise donations, spreading the word or offering to sponsor an element of Christmas Day such as food, which Love In Action will credit via social media.

Ms Brewer said for those too busy to shop for gifts, Love In Action would welcome a donation into their bank account: Bendigo Bank Wallan, BSB: 633 000, account number: 16052 9418.

In addition to the hampers, Love In Action is hosting a free Christmas event ‘Don’t Spend Christmas Alone’ at the Wallan Cricket Club for the second year, which Ms Brewer said was open to families and individuals who might otherwise spend Christmas Day alone.

“There will be activities for the kids, Santa will be attending, there will be gifts for the children and it’ll just be a really nice time for community to come together,” she said.

“[There are] people last year that came to the event, who [became] friends at that event and still catch up now throughout the year.”

The event will run on Christmas Day, December 25, from 4pm- to 7pm at Wallan Cricket Club.

To book, people can call Sarah Brewer on 0419 838 966 or visit www.trybooking.com/events/landing/953590.

Ms Brewer thanked the community for their consistent support.

“Please join us in making this a super special Christmas for our families. From the bottom of our heart we say thanks,” she said.