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Congregations and UnitingCare service groups launch Christmas appeal

MORE than 60 volunteers from Uniting Church congregations and UnitingCare service groups throughout Queensland have made a good start in encouraging people to donate to the annual UnitingCare Christmas gift appeal by organising publicity in their local papers and on local radio.

This is the 21st year that Target and UnitingCare have joined forces to brighten the Christmas of people who are doing it tough and it is hoped that this year the appeal will bring Christmas joy to children, teenagers and lonely or isolated older people through the donation of 20 000 gifts and $40 000 worth of gift cards.

"This is always a busy time of year for us as we come together to help out those in our communities who need some support and we are so grateful for the effort that our local coordinators from congregations and our service groups have made to seek publicity in their local media," Anne Cross, UnitingCare Queensland Chief Executive Officer, said.

"We would like to encourage everyone who can afford it to donate to our appeal at Target stores as early as possible so that we can provide gifts in time for Christmas morning.

"The early donation of gifts will make things easier for our wonderful volunteers, especially as in many areas our Churches and community organisations hold Christmas parties a few weeks prior to Christmas and invite individuals and families to choose their gifts so it important that we have gifts early enough to do this," Anne Cross said.

One of the coordinators who has achieved great publicity in three newspapers in Redcliffe, North Lakes and Pine Rivers is George Hammond, a member of the Redcliffe Uniting Church congregation.

George organised the choir from North Lakes College to help launch the appeal at the Westfield shopping centre in North Lakes.

A crowd of people from the Church were also on hand to show their support.

Through his efforts George reached more than 70 000 people in the Redcliffe area, north of Brisbane.

"Last year we were able to deliver 300 presents to local adults and children," George said.

"I have already been in touch with local organisations and they are expecting there to be even more families doing it quite tough this year so we will need to provide even more presents," he said.