Christmas celebrations at a youth shelter are bittersweet.
“We find ways to make it special,” said Anglicare youth worker Dawn Alomes. “We make sure everyone receives a gift and we cook up a nice Christmas meal”. Anglicare’s Youthcare provides crisis accommodation for boys as young as 13. During the holiday break, Youthcare will take the young people on excursions to the local swimming pool and movie theatre.
“For the boys here at Christmas time, they have each other and there’s usually a feeling of community and bonding,” said Dawn. “But they don’t have their families and that’s really hard for them”.
Many vulnerable young Tasmanians dread Christmas as they associate the season with violence, neglect and loneliness. “Some young people have learned from experience not to expect good things from others,” said Anglicare CEO Chris Jones. “That’s why it’s so important to demonstrate that there are people who care and who won’t give up on them”.
Tasmanians responded generously to this year’s Christmas Appeal which highlighted Anglicare’s work with vulnerable children and young people. The Appeal funds will help us to provide basics such as clothes, food and toiletries and, in the New Year, fund the purchase of important school supplies for local children.
Also this Christmas, food hampers were donated by schools including St Michael’s Collegiate, the Hutchins School, and Margate Primary. Many Anglican parishes and local businesses also gave gifts and cash donations.
Anglicare received $10,000 in food vouchers from IGA Tasmania for distribution to people in need.
The ABC Giving Tree passed on toys and donations to Anglicare. In Glenorchy, the local Lions and Leo Clubs also collected donations and gifts, with their Tree of Giving hosted by the Glenorchy City Council.
“Tasmanians see people in their community struggling because of illness, abuse or poverty – and they want to help,” said Chris Jones. “Compassion is a powerful force. Anglicare finds that the people we reach out to are often surprised and deeply moved, when they realise others care about their well-being”.
“Compassion will keep motivating Anglicare’s work in 2018,” said Chris. “You’ll continue to hear us advocating for the welfare of children at risk. Too many young people are missing out on appropriate care,” he said. “We will be urging decision-makers of every political persuasion to commit to providing a coordinated and dedicated response”.