Cockburn Gazette - - CHRISTMAS -

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.”

Pic­ture: Matt Jelonek­mu­ni­ d446901

Lilly Dorn and Jay Over­ing­ton help­ing out at the Vin­nies store in Fre­man­tle.

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