Local charities unite for needy at Christmas

Lilly Dorn and Jay Overington helping out at the Vinnies store in Fremantle.Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au   d446901
Lilly Dorn and Jay Overington helping out at the Vinnies store in Fremantle.Picture: Matt Jelonek        www.communitypix.com.au d446901

WITH less than a month to go until Christmas, and a busy few weeks of gift-buying on the cards for most, Western Australians are being urged not to forget about the community’s most vulnerable.

To ensure those needing a helping hand get just that, a number of charities have launched Christmas appeals.

Last year, St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers helped deliver more than 2000 Christmas hampers to people in need.

Vinnies WA chief executive Mark Fitzpatrick said the charity expects to help even more families struggling to access food, clothing and a safe place to sleep this year.

“At what is a time of joy and celebration for many of us, far too many Western Australians are facing the prospect of a bleak Christmas,” he said.

“We are already seeing an influx of calls from people asking us for support this Christmas, with the Society receiving over 200 calls a day .”

Salvation Army spokesman Warren Palmer said toy, food and financial donations were vital if the Salvos were to continue helping more than 13,000 people over the Christmas period.

That help extends to people struggling financially, the homeless, people battling substance abuse, and women and children escaping domestic violence.

“We’re not talking about a luxurious Christmas, we’re talking about offering them a basic level of celebration they wouldn’t otherwise get,” he said. “A lot of these people have nowhere to turn.

“It sounds cliché but it really is a humbling experience to be able to help them out.”

The Smith Family’s WA general manager Lorna Woodley said the charity was aiming to deliver 36,000 new toys and 23,500 books to struggling families across Australia before Christmas.

“For a child living in disadvantage, Christmas can be an incredibly isolating experience and a reminder of what sets them apart from their friends and peers,” she said.

“We are relying on the kindness of the public to donate new toys and books, or run their own collections to support our toy and book appeal.”