Who we help
Alicia, a mother of two, came to our centre just before Christmas to seek help with accommodation for her family. They had spent two nights sleeping in the car and desperately needed somewhere to stay. They were helped with accommodation and as there was no money for food or Christmas gifts for the children the centre assisted them with gifts through the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal. They were so thankful.
Geoff is a single father caring for his daughter Melinda. Over the past 12 months he has incurred significant costs in obtaining legal assistance for family court proceedings. He had explained to Melinda that this Christmas would be mainly for her school uniform and requirements for school and he could not afford anything else. On encouragement Geoff placed his name on the Christmas hamper list and received a food hamper and gifts for both himself and Melinda. His daughter was ecstatic as she would not only receive her school clothes but a book, a game and a basketball. Along with this came some pretty clothes and bathers, courtesy of the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal. Christmas was certainly much better and brighter than either Geoff or Melinda had expected.
Forest Hill, VIC
Each year we contact all of the community centres who assist in the care of homeless youth, mothers and babies, plus in-home families throughout the Blue Mountains and beyond. One group were so happy and relieved that they were able to select gifts for over 50 babies and young children and put some joy into the families’ lives. They commented ‘If it wasn’t for the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal, I don’t know what we would do. Families would miss out.’ Another local community centre provided for 125 families through the gifts donated at Target and again expressed the amazing generosity of local people that ‘put a smile on someone else’s face at Christmas’.
Tina is a grandparent caring for her grandchild. Tina finds it hard to manage the expenses as she is on a single pension, and prior to Christmas, wasn’t receiving any benefits to assist her with raising her grandchild. Tina is also the carer of her father, but prior to Christmas did not receive any carers support for this role either. The Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal allowed UnitingCare to support Tina with gifts for her grandchild and vouchers for herself and her father.
Emily suffers from a rare form of cancer and has been given extensive and expensive treatment for her condition. On Christmas Eve I was contacted by Target Yamba to say there were about a dozen late gifts for young children and a couple for adults. I thought of Emily’s family, so I took all the gifts there. When I entered their home the four children were drawing a paper Christmas Tree which was on the wall and were busy making Christmas decorations, but there were no gifts under the tree. When I said I had a number of gifts for them they were more than delighted. Gifts for each of the kids and something for mum and dad. It is possible that it will be Emily’s last Christmas, but courtesy of the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal she and her family had a Christmas to remember.
In February I received a small thank-you card from a single mother (who I know personally) apparently she had received presents on more than one occasion from the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal. She is now in a better situation. She wrote the card and enclosed $100 (for the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal) to say thank-you for all our help. She was very appreciative and said she would always give as she knows how much it helped her and her daughter back then.
Bill’s life came crumbling down when he had two heart attacks within three months and was unable to work. The financial stress contributed to the breakdown of his marriage with his wife leaving and returning to New Zealand alone. As Christmas approached Bill was unable to provide gifts and Christmas fare for his children. He approached his local UnitingCare agency for assistance. The Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal appeal assisted his family with gifts for the children and also a small gift for Bill. A gift card enabled the family to visit Target and purchase some Christmas treats for the table on Christmas Day. Further financial assistance was provided by the organisation to assist with rent and other issues the family was experiencing at the time.
Tweed Heads, QLD
Lainey is an elderly widow currently accessing UnitingCare West’s financial counselling service to assist her in caring for her grandson. Lainey was unable to buy Christmas presents for her grandson, or anything special to put on the table for Christmas dinner. Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal and UnitingCare West staff were able to brighten their Christmas with gifts, Christmas goodies and staple food items and decorations for their home.
A single mother of four needed assistance with gifts and food as she had spent all her money on getting her car fixed so she could take the children to do activities over the school holidays. Being able to assist her with gifts from the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal made it so much more pleasant for her on Christmas morning. So many people that are helped with this appeal explain that it helps them get over the shame of not being able to provide gifts. The smile it puts on the children’s faces makes it all worthwhile. Often a tear is shed by the volunteers helping give out the gifts at this time of need.
Victoria Park, WA
A man came to us who was is in remission from cancer with four children under eight. His family home had burnt down a couple of years ago and UnitingCare Harrison was supporting them with accommodation. Thanks to the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal we were able to provide him with gifts for the children, which without a home, were deemed luxury items at a struggling time.
12 year old Patrick lived in foster care for a few years until he was reunited with his mother a few days before Christmas. His mother has worked hard to bring Patrick back into her care, quitting both alcohol and drugs. When Patrick’s caseworker collected gifts from the Target and UnitingCare Christmas Appeal to give to Patrick, staff suggested he take a gift box of toiletries and beauty products for Patrick to give to his mother. Patrick’s foster carers wrapped them for him to take to the reunion. Patrick was delighted to have a gift for his mother and said it made it a memorable Christmas for him.
‘My children will be so happy!! One less thing for me to worry about. Thank-you so much.”