This year marks 25 years since the UnitingCare and Target Christmas Appeal began. Organisers hope to raise more than $1.5 million to support UnitingCare community service programs.
Supporters are invited to drop an unwrapped gift under the Christmas tree at the front of any Target store. They can also purchase gift tags for $1 at the checkout.
The donations will provide food, gifts and accommodation to thousands of families struggling this Christmas. This includes women and children fleeing domestic violence, people seeking emergency relief and children in foster care.
Amy, a family services worker at Connections UnitingCare, spoke about the joy the Christmas Appeal brought to one client, a single mother of two daughters.
“My client was considered unfit for work due to severe anxiety and depression, as well as other medical conditions which left her isolated,” Amy said.
“She told me that putting the smile on her daughter’s face at Christmas time was one of the best gifts and a highlight of her year.”
According to a new report released by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) in October, almost 3 million Australians live below the poverty line. This includes more than 731,300 children, a 2 per cent rise from a decade ago.
UnitingCare Australia acting national director Martin J Cowling said 2016 has been a tough year for families facing increasing living costs.
“Fortunately we have so many generous people in our community and we’re relying on them to dig deep, show compassion and support our appeal this Christmas,” he said.
Target managing director Guy Rosso said it is an important time of the year to give back to communities in Australia.
“We are so pleased to be partnering again with UnitingCare’s 25th Christmas appeal. Our stores love being part of this program as it touches so many disadvantaged families across Australia,” he said.
The appeal launches in all Target stores throughout Australia on 3 November and will run until 24 December. All proceeds will be donated to the UnitingCare Christmas Appeal.
Visit http://www.unitingcarechristmasappeal.com.au/ to make an online donation.