The response to our 2017 Christmas appeal was quite simply overwhelming.
With the assistance of our key partners, Greater Shepparton City Council and the Community Fund there were 258 Baskets of Joy provided to FamilyCare to distribute across our region.
To put that in context, the 2016 total was about 200 baskets, which at the time was a record. To see it increased again in such a significant way was wonderful.
On top of the Baskets of Joy, were the many and varied gifts including toys, speciality food items, personal care packs, gift vouchers and cash.
The contributions came from schools, businesses, church groups and some from people who just walked into our office and said we thought this might help.
Volunteers joined our staff to help sort and pack the goods which were then distributed to more than 200 households, helping make Christmas a little more joyful than it might have been.
There is no way to fully describe the impact this type of generosity has. It delivers benefits to both donors and recipients.
I was lucky enough to see the impact on our staff, who after a busy and often challenging year, were clearly energised by the scale and genuine nature of the support.
FamilyCare was not the only organisation in Shepparton to benefit from the sense of community goodwill.
For example our colleagues at Berry Street and the Salvation Army also received significant donations that were distributed to local families and children.
The glow of the new year will fade in the next few weeks.
But for now a most sincere thanks to everyone who helped make Christmas special.
There can be no doubting this is a community with a huge heart.
- David Tennant, Family Care chief executive