THOUGH the Christmas carol tells us Santa Claus is coming to town, the reality is is that some struggling Bundaberg families won't see the man in the red suit at all.
But thanks to Santa's little helpers - being the NewsMail's Adopt-A-Family Christmas Appeal - disadvantaged families will still be able to enjoy the festive season.
Now in its 17th year, the APN state-wide initiative teams up with celebrities - including Shane Webcke - and local charities which nominate families to be adopted, who will receive presents and non-perishable food items for Christmas.
Organisations including the Anglican Church, St Vincent de Paul and Centacare have nominated a list of families to be adopted, which will run in the NewsMail each day, starting Monday.
Anglican Church Father Cliff Greaves said it wasn't just around the festive season that people were in need.
"We provide food parcels all through the year to needy families and people," he said.
"Last year we probably provided 50 or so hampers to needy families and people at Christmas time."
Father Greaves said there had been a startling increase in the amount of people needing assistance, particularly seniors.
"We're finding more and more pensioners just can't pay the bills," he said.
"Electricity prices have gone up, insurance prices have gone up.
"They are either out in the street or they pay any money they have to those things."
Father Greaves said a lack of rental properties and low-cost housing had also led to homelessness becoming a "massive" problem in Bundaberg.
"Particularly with males of varying ages, from mid 20s to 50," he said.
"It's largely down to the reduction in State and Federal funding for community housing."
He said there were more grandparents looking after their grandchildren for a number of reasons, including the parents working away or the family unit had broken down.
"The break down in relationships is on the increase," Father Greaves said.
Father Greaves said for the church, Christmas was a special time.
"For the dispossessed, it's just another day of survival for them," he said.
"We're dealing with it on a day to day basis.
"Christmas to us in that sense is just another time."
To adopt a family, see the list of registered families and individuals in Monday's NewsMail, and contact the specific organisation direct.
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