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15+ ways to donate locally this Christmas

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As we start planning our Christmas, it’s a good opportunity to stop and reflect on those in our community in need—especially after the year we’ve had.

Whether you want to demonstrate your gratitude to your favourite charity for their role in helping Canberra get through the year, or help to spread the Christmas cheer to someone who needs it most, we have you covered.

We’ve compiled an alphabetical list of local charities to make it easier to give back to your local community this holiday period.

AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS BLOOD SERVICE

Donating blood to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service is a great way to give without having to spend a dime.

Due to COVID-19, donations have declined this year and therefore, blood and plasma donations are worth their weight in gold. If you donate before 26 December, you’ll even receive a Gift of Life card that you can give a loved one, to let them know you’ve donated on their behalf.

Where to donate: Find your local donation centre at donateblood.com.au

ACT PET CRISIS SUPPORT

Sometimes when people face disadvantage, so can their furry, four-legged friends. ACT Pet Crisis Support provides subsidised veterinary care for disadvantaged pet owners in the local region, aiming to avoid euthanasia, surrender and the suffering of beloved family pets.

You can donate directly to help disadvantaged pet owners, or volunteer your time this Christmas.

Where to donate: actpetcrisis.com

BARNARDOS

Banardos do incredibly important work in our community, so this Christmas make a difference and help provide life saving crisis accommodation to families who have nowhere to turn this Christmas.

Where to donate: Their 2021 Christmas appeal is now accepting donations at donate.barnardos.org.au/donate-now/champion

COMMUNITIES @ WORK

Communities @ Work supports over 20,000 people in the Canberra community every year—the vulnerable and disadvantaged, low-income families, the homeless, women and children fleeing domestic violence, at-risk youth, the frail aged and people with disabilities.

Here are three ways you can help support Communities @ Work this Christmas:

  1. Food: Donations of non-perishable food items to fill the Christmas hampers they give out to families.
  2. Gifts: For many people around Christmas time, gift-giving can prove a huge financial stress. Communities @ Work’s Christmas Caves in Tuggeranong and Gungahlin provide clients with gifts they can hand-pick for their family. Children’s gift donations are always appreciated but so are those for teenagers and adults.
  3. Financial Donation: A monetary donation is always greatly appreciated.

Where to donate food and gifts: Communities@Work Tuggeranong (Tuggeranong Community Centre), 245 Cowlishaw Street, Greenway (open Mon-Fri, 9 am – 4 pm) and Communities@Work Gungahlin (Gungahlin Community Centre), 47 Ernest Cavanagh Street, Gungahlin (open Mon-Fri, 9 am – 4 pm).

Donate online at: commsatwork.org/get-involved/donate.

CANBERRA HOSPITAL FOUNDATION 

Working tirelessly to provide support to public hospitals in Canberra, the Canberra Hospital Foundation enhances  people’s health and wellbeing through an improved environment, better equipment, and facilities, and by supporting care teams to achieve ever higher standards of care.

This year the Canberra Hospital Foundation’s Givemas is a great way to support patients and families who find themselves unwell and in hospital this Christmas.

You can show your support by:

You can also donate directly.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS SERVICE ACT

This year, DVCS ACT is asking the community to help them by donating important toiletry items such as individually wrapped soap or travel size body wash, individually packaged toothbrushes and roll on deodorant. You can also also donate cash which will be used to pay for complete toiletry packs.

Where to donate: dvcs.org.au/get-involed/events

GIVIT

GIVIT is a not-for-profit that links donated items such as household goods with the right charities (over 3000 across Australia!) and people in need. GIVIT ensures all goods are sent to the right place, reducing waste and unnecessary donations. Visit the website to see what’s needed right now and change a life this Christmas.

There are a few different ways to donate to GIVIT:

  • Donate pre-loved goods: GIVIT matches donated items with those in need, so you can be sure they’re going to the right place. Click here to see what items are needed right now.
  • Donate money: Donate money towards a specific cause, including those affected by bushfires, severe storms, COVID-19, support for Indigenous peoples and their communities and those affected by drought. Click here to donate.
  • Donate your time: GIVIT volunteers are matched with local organisations that work with GIVIT. Register your interest here.

HUNDREDS FOR THOUSANDS (SALVOS)

“When you don’t know how to help yourself, try helping someone else.”

Local fundraising initiative Hundreds For Thousands is once again calling on ACT residents to sprinkle a little bit of hope and give where they live this Christmas

With a goal of raising $100,000 to help 1000 local families experiencing hardship across the ACT and surrounding regions, Hundreds For Thousands is a Christmas fundraiser helping out the family next door—but with less than two weeks left of fundraising, founder Natalie Tanchevski is calling on Canberrans to help them reach their goal.

Where to donate: hundredsforthousands.salvationarmy.org.au.

MARYMEAD

Marymead supports the ACT and surrounds with high-quality family support services for children, young people and their families.

Christmas can be a difficult time for many vulnerable people and services such as counselling spikes in demand.

This December, Marymead wants to raise $50,000 to fund 640 free counselling sessions for children and young people.

Where to donate: You can help this Christmas by donating to the appeal at marymead.org.au/marymeads-christmas-appeal-2021

LIFELINE CANBERRA

Every week, we lose another Canberran to suicide. And every day, Lifeline Canberra telephone crisis supporters prevent the loss of many more. Lifeline currently receives a call for help every 30 seconds and it is expected this holiday season will be Lifeline’s busiest ever.

It only costs $26 to save a life—and that is exactly what Lifeline Canberra is asking you to donate.

Where to donate: lifelinecanberra.org.au/donate

OZHARVEST

Sadly, Christmas time is a time where food goes to waste while others are starving. Around seven million Australians, are experiencing food insecurity, with one in six Australians are now seeking food relief assistance throughout the year. COVID has further exacerbated food insecurity, with one in three people seeking food relief, doing so for the first time.

In response to this growing demand, Woolworths customers are being encouraged to purchase a meal token starting from 50 cents during the Woolworths OzHarvest Christmas Appeal, to help OzHarvest feed an Australian in need.

Where to donate: Buy a meal token online woolworths.com.au/shop/discover/community/ozharvest

Rise Above – Capital Region Cancer Relief

Rise Above provides support to cancer patients and the families residing with them within the ACT, Queanbeyan and surrounds. Their mission is to reduce the emotional and financial burden on families who have a member undergoing treatment for cancer and this year they’re calling for donations to make Christmas a little brighter.

Where to donate: riseabovecbr.org.au/donate

RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES

Ronald McDonald House Canberra provides a home away from home for regional families who have seriously ill children. Their goal is to keep families close to one another this Christmas and offer loved ones comfortable accommodation during a time of need.

Volunteers ensure the House is manned 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They go above and beyond to ensure their ‘Big Red Doors’ continue to stay open for families in need this Christmas. You can help by making a financial donation, volunteering or hosting your own fundraiser.

How to donate:

  • Financial donation: Help keep the Ronald McDonald House doors open this Christmas and donate online
  • Volunteer: Anytime you can spare in any capacity will be greatly appreciated. Find out more about local volunteering opportunities online
  • Host a Fundraiser: Bring people together this Christmas with a fun and meaningful way to raise money and transform the lives of the families who are in need of help. See more online

ROUNDABOUT CANBERRA

Roundabout Canberra was founded as a way for parents to donate pre-loved baby and children’s items—think clothing, toys and prams. They link pre-loved items with families in need and help reduce the strain on new families—and reduce waste in the process.

There are three ways you can donate to Roundabout Canberra:

  • Donate goods: Find a comprehensive list of accepted items as well as drop-off times here
  • Donate money: This helps Roundabout Canberra purchase essentials such as cleaning supplies to clean donated items and gift consumables such as nappies and creams to new parents. Donate money here.
  • Donate your time: New volunteer applications are always welcomed. See the guidelines for applying to volunteer here.

RSPCA ACT

Become a guardian angel for an animal in need by making a donation or gifting a donation to a friend, you become an RSPCA Guardian Angel. You will receive the details of one of the many animals you are helping to protect and your donation will help them recover and prepare for the next stages of their life.

Have a furry friend of your own?

Treat your furry friend to a Christmas present from the RSPCA with proceeds going towards helping animals in your local community. Or you could tick off an item that the RSPCA needs this year by purchasing off their online wishlist.

Where to donate:

BE A STARLIGHT WISH-GRANTER

This Christmas, Starlight Children’s Foundation is giving Canberrans the opportunity to gift a child experiencing adverse health a sense of joy. Help to make wishes a reality this Christmas.

Where to donate: starlight.org.au/about-us/what-we-do/wishgranting

ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY (VINNIES)

What to donate:

There are hundreds of reasons to give. You only need one. By making a donation to Vinnies, you’re helping a Canberran family in need this Christmas.

From care packs for the homeless to a Christmas hamper or paying the bills for a struggling family, there’s a lot that your donation can achieve.

Financial Donations:

  • $75 – Can provide clothing to a child in need.
  • $116 – Can provide a food hamper to feed a hungry family.
  • $294 – Can go towards utility bills.
  • $857 – Can help with rent, removing the threat of homelessness.

Where to donate: donate.vinnies.org.au/christmas-appeal

THE AUSTRALIAN RED CROSS

The Australian Red Cross allows you to buy a gift that can create real change this holiday season. Shop the Real Good Gifts today and help fund the critical work of Australian Red Cross. Every gift you buy represents and funds real, life-changing programs and initiatives around Australia and the region.

You can purchase items such as virtual hug and crisis accommodation for families escaping danger.

Where to donate: gifts.redcross.org.au

THE SMITH FAMILY

For many disadvantaged families, Christmas presents are a luxury they can’t afford. Many children in poverty go without the things they need for school, and Christmas can be a really tough time.

Choosing one of The Smith Family‘s Charity Gifts means that you’ll be bringing a smile to a little face on Christmas Day, to someone who might otherwise have nothing under their tree.

Some gifts include a $25 toy pack for children (with different packs for different age ranges), or a $150 family toy and book pack. For those who can, there’s also the option to sponsor a child.

For $52 a month, sponsorship will provide a child with the learning essentials they need like books, stationery and data.

Sadly, COVID-19 has caused the biggest disruption to education ever seen in Australia, and we don’t want students living in disadvantage to fall even further behind.

Where to donate: charity-gifts.thesmithfamily.com.au/all-gifts

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