As much as we moan about the commercialism and hype of Christmas, the seasonal build-up is the beginning of what is, for most of us, a happy – if hectic – time. But for those facing real financial challenges, Christmas can be anything but happy.
Unfortunately, there are many people in our community who face these sorts of difficulties at Christmas. Samaritans, one of the region’s biggest charities, helps about 5000 children in the Hunter each year over Christmas by distributing gifts, providing Christmas lunch and through other services.
On Monday I launched the annual Mayor’s Christmas Appeal, run in partnership with Samaritans.
Originally the appeal was for toys only, but we now invite gifts for adults and teens, non-perishable foodstuffs, toiletries and other home essentials.
This year, I have bought a selection of vouchers as my gift to the appeal. Samaritans tell me that gifts for older children and adults are always in short supply, and vouchers make excellent presents for people in these age groups.
Of course, all gifts are welcome and will all find their way to a grateful recipient. Samaritans ask that gifts be unwrapped.
Donations can be made at the Council Administration Centre, at Speers Point, or at the Lake Mac Libraries branches at Morisset, Toronto, Swansea, Cardiff and Charlestown.
The appeal is open until December 15.