The UnitingCare Target Christmas Appeal got some backing from Town Hall when Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle turned out to help Santa spread hope and cheer to those who otherwise might have little reason to celebrate.
“It’s inspiring to see the incredible work that UnitingCare do to support communities across Australia,” Mr Doyle said.
“I encourage those visiting their local Target store to give generously by purchasing gift tags for $1 or by donating an unwrapped gift for families in need this Christmas.
“Together we can spread the joy and excitement of Christmas to those who need it most.”
Uniting Vic/Tas CEO Paul Linossier, who also was at the event in Melbourne’s CBD Target store, encouraged Australians to remember those who are struggling this Christmas, with one recent report stating there are 731,300 children nationally who live below the poverty line.
“Christmas is a time of great celebration but also a reminder of the shortcomings for many people,” Mr Linossier said.
“The UnitingCare Target Christmas appeal is a fantastic initiative that gives every Australian the opportunity to support those who are in need.”
The appeal is now in its 25th year and organisers are hoping to raise at least $1.5 million. It is on track to meet that target, with nearly $300,000 already raised.
More than 2.1 million gifts have been donated to the appeal since its inception, including 45,000 gifts last year.
Supporters are invited to drop an unwrapped gift underneath the Christmas tree at the front of any Target store. They can also purchase gift tags for $1 at the checkout.
“Whether it’s financial support or that special Christmas present under the tree, these gifts enable a real difference to people’s lives,” Mr Linossier said.
All donated gifts stay in the local area and donations made at the registers are distributed throughout the state to where it is most needed.
This year, businesses, workplaces, churches, schools and community groups are invited to host their own gift collection. It can be a creative alternative to the traditional office Kris Kringle and will make a difference to the lives of those struggling to put food on the table this Christmas.
The UnitingCare Target Christmas Appeal website has a list of gift ideas for tailored to different age groups.
The appeal will run until 24 December.
Visit http://www.unitingcarechristmasappeal.com.au/ for more information.