With a partnership spanning over two decades, UnitingCare and Target’s Christmas Appeal has raised millions of dollars and delivered over two million gifts for Australians struggling during the Christmas period. Journey reports.
For the iconic Australian retailer Target, UnitingCare Australia was a spot-on choice when it came to choosing a partner organisation for their Christmas appeal campaign.
As one of the largest community services providers in Australia, UnitingCare provides assistance and hope to a wide array of Australians including children, First Peoples, the poor and disadvantaged, people with disabilities and the elderly.
In 1992 the two organisations created the Christmas Appeal to provide gifts for Australians who, for various reasons, were unable to celebrate Christmas with gifts. Since its inception, millions of gifts have been delivered to brighten the lives of families and in 2016 alone 48 000 gifts were collected and $1.2 million raised.
UnitingCare Australia’s director of corporate affairs John Ballerini says that while Target and UnitingCare have enjoyed a long and productive relationship it all comes down to the generosity of millions of Australians willing to donate.
“The people of Australia who donate to the Christmas Appeal are the ones making the difference,” says John. “We receive feedback at the national office each year from the teams on the ground that distribute the donations of money and gifts and the stories can be heartbreaking.
“The special thing about this appeal is that the money and gifts donated go immediately back to the children, families and individuals for use over the Christmas period and so the effects are immediate and truly make a difference between a difficult or a joyful Christmas.”
While Queensland churches have been supporting the appeal for many years, this year the Queensland Synod is officially partnering with the Target UnitingCare Christmas Appeal.
Raushen Perera—the Synod’s chief fundraising and marketing officer—sees this official partnership as recognition of the vital role churches can play by nominating families in need, whether in their own congregations or in the wider community.
“This project is supporting vulnerable families in our local communities and the relationships built by the church over the years are a great conduit to reaching those amongst us who are most in need,” says Raushen.
“It’s a great example of how we can, as one holistic church, make a larger impact on families in need across our state.”
To donate online visit unitingcarechristmasappeal.com.au or in person at a Target cash register. If your church is involved in this project, you can drop off physical gifts at your local church.