WITH Christmas less than a month away, hampers full of the essentials, and a few treats, are being prepared for people in need. But, with the rising cost of living, the demand for hampers has well exceeded the supply this year. It's a heartbreaking situation for the groups behind the hamper initiative, who are having to turn people away who are inquiring about getting food for Christmas. That's why the Bathurst Uniting Support Services (BUSS), one of the groups involved, is appealing to the community for donations so more hampers can be put together. "We're trying to raise some money so at least we can give people something when they come to us," BUSS coordinator Julie Fry said. "Could your Christmas be a little less so someone else's could be a little more?" BUSS, which is part of the Bathurst Uniting Church, is working with HopeCare and Anglicare on the Christmas hamper project. They have all been inundated with requests from people in need, including single parents and the homeless, and they hate to have to turn people away who clearly need the help. "We've probably had twice as many requests for hampers as we did last year, and that's happened to all the organisations, so we've been completely smashed, and I think that's a reflection of how tough it is for people at the moment. "It's very hard to turn away a single mum with three kids and say, 'We haven't got any left'." The Western Advocate, whose staff have donated $300 to the cause, is encouraging the community to put their support behind BUSS and the hamper initiative. "The staff are impressed with the work they have been under taking in the community, especially with people in need, and wanted to support them in their cause," editor Jacinta Carroll said. Donations can be made directly to BUSS via a bank transfer. The details are below.