Staff at MacKillop sites across NSW, WA and VIC turn into Santa’s little helpers at this time of the year by collecting, sorting and distributing Christmas presents generously donated by the community to make Christmas special for local kids in out-of-home care.
Christmas can be a difficult time for young people who are unable to spend time with their birth family, so to make it as special as possible for them, local communities have supported events to provide gifts and vouchers appropriate for different age groups, helping foster carers and staff ensure each child gets Christmas presents.
Following is a small sample of the types of activities and a few of the schools and organisations who came together to provide Christmas presents and Christmas parties.
In a new partnership, our Lismore office was supported by Flock Espresso cafes in two locations at Mullumbimby and Lismore. The cafes hosted Christmas giving trees and encouraged locals to take part by offering free coffee for anyone who left a gift under the tree. The appeal was supported by local radio station, River FM, resulting in a fantastic response from the community and lots of presents for our children and young people in the area.
In WA, children in out-of-home care and their carers received complimentary tickets to this year’s annual World Festival of Magic from the Rotary Club of West Perth. The kids received presents and had a fabulous time at this family-orientated event featuring local and international acts.
The Hamilton and Warrnambool Christmas gift appeal received great coverage on local radio stations, informing people about the locations of local donation centres where people could bring toys and vouchers to be distributed before Christmas. While in Geelong, the annual Bethany Giving Tree Appeal collected presents at a central location, before dropping them off at the Helen Street office.
In South Melbourne, Santa upgraded his reindeers to Transdev’s first fully electric bus to collect Christmas presents for children in care with the help of the Minister for Transport, Melissa Horne and staff from Transdev.
Last stop for the Transdev bus was Kolbe Catholic College, Greenvale, but many other schools contributed to the gift appeal: including MacKillop Catholic Regional College; Brighton Grammar School; Salesian College Sunbury; Fairfield Primary School; St Kevin’s College; Caulfield South Primary School and St Peter’s College. Only About Children (Pre-School) also donated gifts.
Transdev also donated over $1,000 worth of toys and conducted a donation drive amongst its staff. Other organisations and businesses such as Optometry Australia, Aware Health, JPL Group and Malvern East café, Our Kitchen Table, all contributed gifts and vouchers which were picked up for kids by case workers and foster carers at the Christmas Present Drive in Cecil Street on 10 December.
Thanks to the generous support of local schools and businesses and our amazing foster carers, MacKillop can ensure every child in our care will have a present under the Christmas tree this year.