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Shine the light

Christmas is the perfect time to let people know they matter.

Shine a lightWith the help of generous Tasmanians, the Anglicare Christmas Appeal is making it possible to deliver food hampers, Christmas presents for children, and financial assistance to families struggling with the cost of rent, groceries and other bills.

“We are part of a community that’s believes no-one should live in poverty,” said Anglicare CEO Chris Jones. “Right now, school students and their families are collecting food items to donate. There are baskets in church foyers and parish halls that are filling up with goods.

“People are giving to the Christmas Appeal through our website or by post. Some are walking up to the counters in our offices to share a gift. It’s humbling and a huge encouragement to all of us who work at Anglicare”.

Chris said the generosity of the community would help Anglicare to ‘shine a light’ for those feeling alone or distressed at Christmas time. “One of our workers was recently telling me how a simple connection – a smile or a kind word – can help to change a person’s whole mindset,” he said. “It’s all about feeling seen and valued”.

Anglicare is arranging special Christmas meals for people who live at supported accommodation facilities around the state. “For example, at one of the Launceston houses, our team is planning a quite traditional Christmas – a big, cooked lunch with all the trimmings and desserts to follow,” said Chris. “Our staff are keen to make the day extra special for residents”.

Christmas can be an especially tough time for young people staying at a crisis shelter. “It’s difficult for young people who aren’t able to be with their family at Christmas,” said Chris. “The workers at Youthcare will make sure each of the boys receives a gift, has a delicious meal and can take part in an outing”.

The ABC Giving Tree is providing toys and money for distribution by Anglicare, and IGA Tasmania is donating food vouchers to assist people in need. The Glenorchy Lions and Glenorchy City Council have also collected gifts and money for the Anglicare Christmas Appeal. “Kind individuals and organisations are going to make this Christmas brighter for many people,” said Chris. “Tasmanians understand that people experiencing poverty are the same as them. They want those who are struggling to know they belong to a community that understands and cares”.