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12 December – Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, but for many in our community, it can be a difficult time. This festive season, we need your help to share the joy of giving to our community members who need support and kindness more than ever.

Bethany Community Support was thrilled to once again launch the Geelong Giving Tree Appeal in collaboration with Barwon Child, Youth and Family (BCYF) and The Sexual Assault & Family Violence (SAFV) Centre.

The launch took place on Saturday 12 November as part of the City of Greater Geelong’s Floating Christmas Tree Sound and Light Show. It was a chance for the local community to come together and kickstart fundraising efforts. The outpouring of compassion and kindness at our launch event alone was a true demonstration of human spirit during the festive season.

The Geelong Giving Tree Appeal has been running for well over 20 years and calls on the generosity of the Geelong community to donate to those less fortunate. All funds raised will be used to provide gift cards to families and individuals within our community who need a helping hand.

The last twelve months has presented many with unprecedented challenges and newfound hardship.  The rising cost of living, the continued effects of COVID and the prevalence of sexual and family violence within our community, means the need for support continues to grow. 

The recipients of these gift cards include people experiencing family violence and sexual assault, financial and mental health issues, homelessness, gambling harm and other family relationship hardships. The gift cards empower families and individuals living in Geelong, allowing them to purchase Christmas gifts and food that they couldn’t otherwise afford.

Natalie* knows what it feels like to be truly hungry. Over the years she has experienced homelessness and has gone weeks without anything to eat.

Last year Natalie received financial support at Christmas time through the Geelong Giving Tree Appeal.

“It’s like a very precious gift, somebody cares about my situation, somebody cares about my quality of life, somebody cares about my welfare. You stop feeling invisible, you actually feel like you exist.”

Natalie hoped that by sharing her experience, it would encourage people to donate this year to help people like her.

 

Bernadette McCartney, Bethany Community Support Deputy CEO, said Bethany had seen an increase in new families and individuals seeking support this year.

“This year more people than ever will need our support, with many feeling the pressure as we lead into the Christmas period,” Ms McCartney said.

“We’re encouraging our community to fundraise or donate to the Geelong Giving Tree Appeal to share the joy of giving. You’ll be helping families create lifelong memories together. It’s a unique opportunity to give and one we hope the Geelong Community will get behind once again.”

“Last year the Geelong Giving Tree Appeal supported more than 850 families and individuals and, with your help, we can share the joy of Christmas with even more people this year,” Ms McCartney said.

Donate to the Geelong Giving Tree Appeal from 12 November-6 December at www.geelonggivingtree.com.au

 

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