In past years the appeal focused on collection of gifts for distribution throughout the community. This will continue this year, and agencies will ensure that all donated gifts will remain in the local community in which they are donated.
For the first time in the appeal’s history, members of the public will be invited to purchase a $1 gift tag at Target checkouts which in turn is a dollar contribution to the UnitingCare Christmas Appeal.
National Appeal manager Catherine Robertson said all money raised will remain in the state which it was donated.
“UnitingCare will distribute the money across the state and be able to respond to areas most in need,” Ms Robertson said.
“In the past, some donated presents didn’t match the agencies’ clientele. One agency was inundated with Barbie dolls even though their clients were predominately teenage boys. The changes to the appeal are designed to minimise these instances and give greater flexibility for agency staff to select appropriate gifts.
“In acknowledging the limitations of the appeal, Target decided to emulate the success of other retailers who have prompted customers to donate money,” she said.
“The money will enable us to respond to people living in both regional and metropolitan Melbourne. We know there are less Target stores represented in rural areas, where there often tends to be the most need. So this new donation process allows for us to respond to that need and ensure that Victorians and Tasmanians are helping their own.”
Cash donations will not only enable the purchase of age-appropriate Christmas gifts, but also to assist with other areas of need such as providing food hampers for people struggling to put food on the table, assistance with bills and crisis accommodation.
“Christmas is often the hardest time for families already struggling to make ends meet,” UnitingCare Tasmania CEO Lindy O’Neill said.
“Families feel the need to produce a feast and have piles of presents under the tree. However, many have the stresses of bills, rent and putting petrol in car and it’s hard to justify spending money on gifts when they need to keep a roof over their head.
“This Christmas thanks to generous donations we hope to ease some of these pressures.”
Last year the appeal helped support over 42,000 families nationally.
For more information visit www.unitingcarechristmasappeal.com.au.