Losing a loved one, no matter the circumstances, is always a difficult time in a person’s life.
However, just as local Jessica Craig discovered, it’s often during these hard times that we are made aware of how generous and supportive those around us can be.
Earlier this year, Ms Craig lost her husband, AB Peter Craig, in a motorcycle accident.
Mr Craig served in the Royal Australian Navy and, after his death, the young family were overwhelmed by the amount of love and support they received from the Defence community.
“Never have I truly understood the mateship ideal until this year,” Ms Craig said.
“Pete’s colleagues, shocked by what had happened, set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for our eight-month-old son Jaxon and myself.”
Expecting some support, even the campaign creators were astounded when the campaign finished up with over $30,000 raised.
Now Ms Craig, in honour of her late serving husband, is putting together Christmas care packages with the help of her business, Hugo Halliday, to send to deployed Australian troops.
“We are sending these packages in honour of my late husband and to thank the service men and women for being away from their loved ones this Christmas to protect our right to live freely,” Ms Craig said.
Since putting up her post on social media last month calling for donations, Ms Craig has already received support from the community wishing to contribute to the cause.
“The CEO of Moxie has also contacted me and will be providing feminine hygiene packs for all the female boxes, and a few smaller businesses have said they will donate things such as soaps, letters of support and aftershave.
“And Jaxon’s day care provider is doing a donation drive and getting all the kids to create art for the troops.”
According to the Department of Defence, there are currently 2,350 Australian troops deployed overseas and Ms Craig is encouraging the community to help send as many packages as they can in the hopes that it will make this time of year a bit easier for some of the troops.
“We are so ingrained as a society to expect to spend Christmas with our loved ones, not having that opportunity must be exceptionally hard,” she said.
“These packages are going to focus very strongly on making sure our troops know we’re behind them. I hope that message comes through and helps get them through the rest of their deployment.”
Those wishing to contribute to the care packages should send their contribution to: 51/2 O’Connell Street, Parramatta 2150 by December 4.
Lauren Suttie is the Weekender’s General & Community News journalist.