Wrapping up Christmas
As the “silly season” concludes, and we return from a much-needed rest, we want to take the opportunity to “wrap” up our inaugural Christmas Appeal! For Christmas 2020, the Community Centre collected gifts for children who might otherwise go without - through The Smith Family, and for children in foster and supported care. The big one was The Smith Family’s Toy & Book Appeal. Our amazing friends from several local organisations acted as additional collection points for this, spreading Christmas cheer throughout all of Victoria Park. Between November 8 and December 7, our amazing community donated a whopping 741 toys and books, which surpassed our expectations for our first time running this!
These items were all delivered to The Smith Family on December 8 for sorting – it required a van and two SUVs to get them there! On December 15, our very own elf brought Santa along to deliver some of these gifts direct to families in the Perth metropolitan area. While running this collection, we realised that we underestimated the community’s Christmas spirit, and that we could have gone even further if we’d organised additional volunteers and elves – as it was, our Head Elf had a few long days! We also learned that Vic Park businesses would love to support families going through a tough time, but that they just need some introductions from those who have existing connections from providing the on-the-ground help. With some community members missing out on the drop off date for The Smith Family appeal, but still wanting to contribute, we then joined another collection. Our Head Elf’s elven friends advised that they had been under a bit of pressure to get gifts ready for the 6,000 or so WA children spending Christmas in foster care, supported care, and women’s refuges, and more than 100 kids in suburbs near Victoria Park were still on their to-do list. Thanks to the generosity of the Vic Park community, we were able to get gifts ready for around 40 of these kids. Not only did the community donate toys themselves, they also contributed to a last minute shopping trip (our Head Elf reports that the weekend before Christmas is not the most relaxing time to shop for 20 kids), and a group of volunteers got together on very short notice to wrap all the presents! Despite all these last minute, short notice tasks, the Christmas Appeal was overall great fun! And most importantly, we made Christmas brighter for hundreds of children whose families had a tough year. We’d like to say a huge thank you to our collection partners and business donors in particular. These include: Archer St Physiotherapy, Baston & Co Realty, Crow Books, Greenbunch, Hawaiian at The Park Centre, Nurture and Nature Preschool, Priceline St James, Social Manna, Southbank Montessori – and we know there are several missing, with so many donations being dropped off it was hard to keep track! 2 / 2 We’d also like to thank the Gosnells Inner Wheel Club for collecting and contributing, and our amazing volunteers – the Elves and their families, Cr Jesvin Karimi for both delivering and gift wrapping, and our other enthusiastic and very efficient gift wrappers – Margot, Cleo, Rachel, Olivia and Rebecca! And a massive thank you to every member of the community who contributed, shared, and got on board with this project. With such a huge outpouring of generosity, and the amazing community spirit shown, we can’t wait to do this again in 2021. See you in November!