Christmas is a wonderful time to celebrate with the ones you love, but for many people, it can also be a painful reminder of loss and loneliness.
One Darwin retiree has transformed his own experience of family loss into a beautiful Christmas message. “Dusty” (who changed his name for the story) told the ABC how he had lost three of his sons over the span of a decade, all around the festive season. To add to his heartbreak, Dusty lost his wife in 2013, just two days before Christmas.
In a move that many would understand, Dusty no longer celebrates Christmas. “All my friends know that it’s not a happy time of year for me,” he says, “That’s the way it is and I can’t do anything about it.”
However, in this story of heartbreak is also a message of love and grace. Despite no longer celebrating the festive season, Dusty decided a year after his wife’s passing, that he would help the needy. Taking the money he would have otherwise spent on Christmas, Dusty went and bought 20 turkeys from his local supermarket and gave them to Foodbank. “I just decided that I can’t enjoy Christmas but I’d like other people to enjoy it – I’ve always been a giver,” he says.
What started as 20 turkeys has expanded to Dusty donating a whole pallet of turkeys this year – 324 to be exact – which were dropped off to the Foodbank charity house in Darwin earlier this month. These will be distributed by Foodbank to needy households and food kitchens in the lead up to Christmas, making about 2000 lunches for people who might have otherwise gone without.
“On behalf of those families who never dreamed they would be eating turkey this Christmas, we are incredibly appreciative,” said Peter Fisher, the Chief Executive of Foodbank NT.
Despite his reluctance to have this story focus on him, there is a lot we can learn from Dusty. “I’d like people to think about what’s on their table and just drop a bit extra into the shopping trolley,” he said.
You can find out more about donating to Foodbank in your local area by searching their website here.
Read our articles on how to look out for friends and family who might be feeling low this time of year here
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