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13 ways to ‘give’ locally this Christmas

Madeleine Porter

No matter what your family situation, the numbers in your bank balance or your age, Christmas is a time to share.

Sharing presents, food and hospitality with family, friends and loved ones are staples of Christmas that everyone can relate to, but Christmas is sometimes the perfect way to share with those you don’t know.

Spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer beyond your nearest and dearest by giving to charity at Christmas can be a mission for the whole family, a small token of gratitude for a bountiful year or even the perfect gift for someone with everything, that will greatly improve the lives of those who have next to nothing.

We’ve compiled a list of local charities that will allow you to spread Christmas cheer this December and beyond Canberran women, men and children in need.

LIFELINE CANBERRA 

Lifeline Canberra exists to support people in crisis and save the lives of those experiencing thoughts of suicide. Ensure the voices of those in need are heard this Christmas.

According to Lifeline Canberra each week, we lose another Canberran to suicide. Canberra’s Lifeline helps prevent the loss of many more.

If you have any questions, please contact their team on 02 6204 6405 or via email.

Financial donation:

$26 donation gift – 1 life

$52 donation gift – 2 lives

$78 donation gift – 3 lives

Think of the lives you could be saving this Christmas and donate today on Lifeline Canberra’s website.

DONATE TO CANBERRA COMMUNITIES @ WORK

Communities @ Work provide a huge range of hands-on, practical support services for Canberrans. Here are four ways you can help support Communities @ Work!

Food: Donations of non-perishable food items to fill the Christmas hampers they give out to families.

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 teenagers and adults.

Financial Donation: A monetary donation is always greatly appreciated. You can donate online by clicking the link.

RSPCA ACT

Become a Guardian Angel: At the Weston Shelter, hundreds of animals need miracles this Christmas. Will you be the angel that comes to their rescue? By making a donation or gifting a donation to a friend, you become an RSPCA Guardian Angel, watching over a special animal this Christmas. Be a Guardian Angel this Christmas by visiting rspcaguardianangel.com.au.

Purchase a present for your pet: RSPCA ACT’s retail shop has plenty of gifts available for your four-legged friend. While you’re there why not purchase a gift and place it under the Christmas Tree for one of the animals currently in care at the shelter so they can feel special this Christmas.

Donate via the RSPCA Wishlist: You can buy the RSPCA ACT something they really need this year by donating online by clicking the link.

RONALD MCDONALD CHARITY HOUSES

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 one’s comfortable accommodation during a time of need.

Volunteers ensure the House is manned 24hrs a day, 7 days a week. They go above and beyond to ensure their ‘Big Red Doors’ continue to stay open for families in need this Christmas.

Food: Donations of non-perishable food items such as individually wrapped condiments, tinned goods, sealed cereals and pasta.

Gifts: New toys in boxes or original packaging and books. Knitted goods in moderation. They must not be used and be in a pristine state.

Financial donation: Help keep the Ronald McDonald House doors open this Christmas and donate online by clicking this link.

RED CROSS 2017 Festive appeal

With a number of Canberrans celebrating Christmas this year, there will still be those who are spending the festive season alone and vulnerable. The Red Cross 2017 Festive Appeal looks to help those who are suffering this Christmas, offering them an invaluable support network.

Red Cross’s one-on-one support network looks to support isolated and elderly Australians, those suffering disability or illness and people who are experiencing violence or persecution.

We all know that Christmas is meant to be a happy time, enjoyed by all. Help those who need you the most this Christmas and donate online by clicking the link.

St Vincent de Paul Society

There are hundreds of reasons to give. You only need one. By making a donation to St 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:

  • $50 – provides care and assist packages
  • $80 – provides food for a week
  • $200 – provides safety in crisis
  • $1000 – provides rent and stability

Every cent counts. Donate today by visiting the St Vincent De Paul’s website.

Christmas time at Canberra hospital  

This year there will be a number of patients under the care of our local heroes (nurses and doctors) of the Canberra Hospital. Ensure those who are spending Christmas in the hospital this year enjoy the gifts and donations you have given to brighten their day.

From Monday 4 December until Tuesday 19 December, the donation station will be open from Monday to Friday located in the Main Foyer of the Canberra Hospital. Members of the public are invited to drop off gifts to fill Santa’s sleigh.

Gifts for the Adults and Aged Care Ward: Body wash, soap, lip balm, brush and comb sets, puzzle books, moisturisers and toiletry bags.

Gifts for the Paediatrics Ward: toys, gift cards, activity books, crayons, colouring in books and board games.

All donated gifts must be brand new, unwrapped and in appropriate gift bags.

Financial donation: To help brighten the Christmas of those in Canberra’s Hospital this year, make a monetary donation online by clicking the link.

Australian Red Cross blood service

With 12,000 donors needing blood between Christmas and New Year’s Eve for Australia’s most critical ‘Secret Santa’ exchange, donate a lifesaving gift this festive season.

By donating your blood, you’ll be helping to prevent a shortage of blood stocks vital to the treatment of road trauma patients, pregnant mums, cancer patients and premature babies needed every day this month.

Many are likely to be away holidaying which is why the ARC Blood Service is calling on others to step forward and be an Australian patient’s Secret Santa to ensure no one misses out on receiving that special gift. You can make an appointment online or by calling 13 14 95.

GIFTS FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Local entrepreneurs We Ain’t Boring have compiled a series of worthy businesses whose proceeds go to excellent causes.

GG’s Flowers and Hampers provide meaningful employment to people with special needs and their gorgeous corporate hampers can be ordered in bulk. Read more here

In the lead up to Christmas, Astral Float is donating $10 from every gift voucher purchased will be donated to St Vinnies and Nellie and the Cat are donating $5 from every mug or set sold to Love Your Sister.

And of course, at We Ain’t Boring: 100% of profits go back into their community. Products include totes, prints, candles, necklaces and of course, cases of water.

University of Canberra Christmas textbook appeal

A semester of textbooks can cost a typical student an entire month of their Centrelink payment, not to mention the stress of still having to find the money they need to pay for food, rent and transport. Give to the UC Textbook Appeal this Christmas and support students through the simple gift of a book. Financial hardship impacts students’ ability to study and succeed in their degrees and contributes to emotional stress.

While it can cost an average of around $400-$800 a semester on required textbooks and, upwards of $1000.00 a year, the figures don’t add up when matched against the average Youth Allowance income of $414.40 a fortnight for a full-time student that. Why not make a donation of textbooks online that will help ease the stress of a student this Christmas?

BARNADOS

Every child deserves to feel the joy, warmth and happiness of Christmas so why not bring joy to desperate children in need by donating gifts online, purchasing Christmas cards to send to loved ones or donating cash online to help contribute to a child attending childcare through Barnados.

Christmas is a fun and festive time for most of us. But spare a thought for the thousands of traumatised children affected by abuse, neglect, homelessness and poverty in Australia. For these children, Christmas can be a sad, lonely and a heart-breaking time.

Barnardos Gifts for Kids invites schools, companies, community groups and individuals to donate gifts and/or cash to help Barnados reach their goal, which is to provide a gift for every child in Barnardos Australia care this Christmas.

Target and Uniting Care Christmas appeal

Seeing the smile on a kid’s face when they open a present on Christmas morning is one of the best things about Christmas. But often we forget that some kids don’t get a visit from Santa

Target and UnitingCare are working together this year to raise $1.5 million to support the thousands of struggling families in Australia living below the poverty line. A few dollars could help women and children fleeing domestic violence, people seeking emergency relief or children and families in desperate situations.

By simply purchasing an Appeal bauble for $1 or giving an unwrapped gift to any local Target store, you’re giving those who are less fortunate this year an opportunity to feel safe, comfortable and not alone this Christmas.

Financial Donation: You can make a monetary donation online by clicking the link.

Be a Starlight wish-granter

This Christmas Starlight Children’s Foundation is giving Canberrans the opportunity to give families who have a sick child the chance to put the pain of treatment behind them and dream big.

Families who have a child who is facing a serious injury or illness has the capacity to consume their everyday lives. By donating to the Starlight Children’s Foundation this Christmas you’re enabling families to have a break away from the relentless cycle of pain and offer them light at the end of the tunnel.

Starlight’s Wishgranting Program supports kids and teens with a wide range of illnesses and injuries, and demand for the program continues to grow. To find out how you can help fulfil Starlight Wishes this Christmas, please call 1300 727 827 or visit the Starlight Foundation.

OZHARVEST

It’s that time of year where the Christmas parties are in abundance and the food in excess but before you throw it in the bin, phone OzHarvest.

They rescue and collect excess goods which would otherwise be discarded. The excess food is then distributed directly to local charities that support the community’s most disadvantaged people. It’s worth noting, however, OzHarvest only collects food prepared by commercial caterers or eateries. Visit their website to donate today.

SHARE THE DIGNITY THIS CHRISTMAS

Share the Dignity is an Australian Charity who gives dignity to women at-risk, homeless or experiencing domestic violence, through the distribution of sanitary items and the funding of funerals.

Each year, Share the Dignity collect handbags filled with personal care products to assist women experiencing hardship during the Christmas period. You will be able to donate your completed #itsinthebag donation at the specially marked boxes at the front of all Bunnings stores during store opening hours.

Share the Dignity collection points are open until Saturday 2nd DecemberYou will not be able to donate outside of these dates.

Financial Donation: A monetary donation is always greatly appreciated. You can donate online by clicking the link.

Please contact [email protected] for more information.

 If you’d like to give in a smaller way then here a few gestures you can do and still make a difference…

  • Purchase that $1 bag at the counter if it supports a charity in need
  • Drop your loose change in the hat of the carollers or Christmas buskers
  • Give your paid parking ticket to someone who is entering the carpark (provided you don’t need it to exit)
  • Buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you
  • Head to Oxfam in Canberra Centre and pick up a gift that keeps giving—Oxfam Unwrapped gifts help transform the lives of people living in poverty by providing life’s essentials including clean water and education. Gift a goat, a chicken or Christmas ham, your gift will be bettering the life of someone who needs it most.
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Madeleine Porter

Madeleine is originally from the rural area of Hay in South Western, NSW. After spending her gap year in the Northern Territory as a jillaroo on motorbikes and horseback, she decided to move to Canberra to begin her university degree. Madeleine’s currently in her final year at the University of Canberra studying a Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations/Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Although a country girl at heart, Madeleine loves everything to do with fashion and the wedding sector. Her Canberra has given Madeleine great exposure into the wedding industry through launch of Unveiled. When Madeleine completes her university degree, she is ready to venture out into the world and continue to write about her adventures overseas. More about the Author

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