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Christmas with the Salvos

In a year most of us would like to forget, gestures of care and kindness – large or small – have become particularly precious. For communities who suffered the fury of the Black Summer bushfires, followed by COVID-19, these actions of kindness and the opportunity to take a break from the (new) normal can make for a welcome distraction.

Recently, The Salvation Army, accompanied by high profile Aussies Samantha Jade, Woolworths S.T.A.N.D ambassador Adam Goodes and TV chef Ed Halmagyi (a.k.a. ‘Fast Ed’), headed to the NSW South Coast to express support for the community, touch base with clients and spread some Christmas cheer.

You can watch this program on Channel 7.
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The trip was filmed for a 30-minute special airing on 12 December at 1pm on Channel 7. It involved surprise visits; giveaways of hampers, presents and vouchers; community meals and the singing of Christmas carols – all with the purpose of giving hope and joy to a community that has been through a lot. 

Stories of support

The Salvation Army has been supporting and caring for people who lost everything or suffered significant damage to their properties and/or livelihoods during the fires. Through financial, practical and emotional support, Salvos are making connections and journeying with people throughout the recovery process.

During the trip, Samantha, Adam and the Salvos team visited the properties of some of the people helped by the Salvos and who are at different stages of recovery.

Brett, who lost everything in the blaze, showed the celebrities photos of the fires engulfing his property. His story deeply touched those in attendance. Brett is incredibly grateful for the support of his Salvos caseworker Tammy, who has helped him with financial grants and a recovery pod.

The team also visited Leisa and her family who lost their home to the fires and have already commenced rebuilding. And Sara and her family, who received a recovery pod, emotional support and financial assistance to continue living on their property with their nine dogs and four horses as they prepare to rebuild.

Samantha Jade, who visited the region and performed a community concert not long after the disaster struck, was grateful for the opportunity to return and witness the recovery process.

“It’s quite overwhelming seeing what they’ve rebuilt and what they’ve been able to do in such a short amount of time,” she says. “We’ve just been to some homes that were literally concrete slabs and now they’re homes. It’s so beautiful to see. I feel so blessed to be back.”

Better Homes and Gardens’ Fast Ed later cooked a meal at the local Salvos for all the people they visited during the day. He, Samantha and Adam sat down to enjoy it with everyone, Samantha also performed Christmas carols for the guests.

See below for a selection of Ed’s delicious recipes.

Help delivered in the thousands

For so many, this will be a Christmas like no other, to finish off a year like no other. In 2020, The Salvation Army helped more than 80,000 people impacted by COVID-19, providing over $10 million in financial assistance.

Over Christmas, we will distribute more than 30,000 hampers and vouchers, give out over $1.3 million worth of gifts and toys, and support more than 50,000 families in need.

Additionally, Salvos will provide over 130,000 meals, over 65,000 beds for those who need a place to stay and accommodation to more than 7600 families during the festive season. We will be helping more than half a million people, serving over 10,000 meals, distributing over 500,000 gifts and toys and giving out millions of dollars in financial assistance.

With so many trying to recover from the impacts of 2020, The Salvation Army continues to provide wrap-around support services, Christmas cheer and hope for a more stable future to those who need it most.

The Salvation Army Christmas Special recipes

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 6-8


1.5kg Galloway beef fillet (tenderloin), trimmed

Sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper

½ tsp celery seeds

½ bunch sage leaves

8 thin slices prosciutto

800g pumpkin, diced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Crushed soy beans, to serve


1. Season the beef with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with celery seeds and top with sage leaves. Arrange the prosciutto in two overlapping rows, set the beef at the near edge, then roll up to enclose. Refrigerate for at least 1 .

2. Preheat oven to 200°C.

3. Steam the pumpkin until tender, then mash with the butter and season with salt. Place in a fine sieve and set aside to drain. Spread on the sides of a large bowl and cover with cling film, then insert the nozzle of a smoking gun. Smoke with mesquite chips until aromatic.

4. Put the beef on a wire rack over a roasting pan, then roast for 25-30 minutes until medium-rare, or 30-35 minutes until medium. Allow to rest, then carve and serve with pumpkin puree and crushed soy.

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4-6


1 head cauliflower

2 heads garlic, peeled

2 teaspoons baby capers, chopped

1 bunch thyme leaves

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons white truffle oil

Sea salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper

2 tablespoons aioli

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

½ cup pumpkinseeds, lightly toasted

6 cups baby spinach leaves


1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Use a small knife to separate the cauliflower florets in a bowl, then toss with the garlic, capers, thyme and oils. Season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a lined oven tray then bake for 45 minutes, until golden.

2. Mix the aioli and vinegar and drizzle over, then add the pumpkinseeds and spinach and toss gently.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 90 minutes

Serves: 4-6


2kg carrots, peeled and chopped

100g ghee, melted

Sea salt flakes and freshly-ground white pepper

½ cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon raspberry vinegar

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped


1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Toss the carrots in ghee and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a roasting pan and bake for 1 hour. Drizzle the maple syrup and vinegar over and bake for a further 30 minutes. Stir in the pecans.

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 5½ hours

Serves: 12-20


1.3kg mixed dried fruits

1 cup unsweetened fruit juice

1½ cups plain flour

1½ cups rye flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

2 tablespoons beetroot powder

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature

450g dark brown sugar

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla paste

1 teaspoon almond essence

1 teaspoon cinnamon essence

½ cup molasses

½ cup lime marmalade


1. Combine the fruit and juice in a lidded container, mix well, and refrigerate for 1 week, stirring at least once every day.

2. Preheat oven to 130°C.

3. Sift the flours, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, beetroot powder and spices into a large bowl. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium speed for 10 minutes, until very light.

4. Put the eggs, vanilla, essences and molasses in a second bowl and whisk until smooth. Add to the butter while beating on low speed. Once smooth, add to the flour bowl and stir thoroughly.

5. Fold in the dried fruit and marmalade, then spoon into two lined 23cm cake tins. Bake for 5½ hours, until firm to touch. Cool completely in the tin.

Cook’s notes: Beetroot powder is a beautiful rich deep-red colour and has a delicate earthy flavour. You’ll find it in health food stores or in the nature foods aisle of your supermarket.

The Salvation Army Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet and work and pay our respect to Elders past, present and future.

We value and include people of all cultures, languages, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, gender expressions and intersex status. We are committed to providing programs that are fully inclusive. We are committed to the safety and wellbeing of people of all ages, particularly children.

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The Salvation Army is an international movement. Our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and to meet human needs in his name with love and without discrimination.

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Hope where it's needed most