For the disadvantaged Christmas can be a depressing time of year but the launch of the St Vincent de Paul Society’s Christmas Appeal last month aims to support them this festive season.
The appeal will run until late January and St Vincent de Paul former state president Genevieve de Souza said there was more to it than just raising funds.
“We want to make the public aware of the many struggles faced during the festive season,” she said.
“We want to encourage the sharing of resources as well as to ensure that this special time of year is a happy and peaceful one for all in the community.”
Ms De Souza said the parish at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament in Gosnells had a Christmas tree in the foyer with 101 gift tags for refugee families.
“We also have St Munchin’s Catholic Primary School helping the appeal with a gold coin day to assist us with providing Christmas assistance to families and individuals in the Gosnells community,” she said.
“We recently had the Vinnies Christmas appeal breakfast in the parish which raised $1123.”
St Vincent de Paul Society chief executive Mark Fitzpatrick said far too many West Australians were facing an unhappy holiday.
“This has been a particularly trying year with households under severe financial stress,” he said. “Record unemployment rates have left families and individuals struggling to make ends meet.”
Mr Fitzpatrick said the number of people the society had assisted with emergency relief had increased by 30 per cent in the past year with a total of 48,748 individuals receiving assistance.
He also said single parents with children made up 42.8 per cent of people seeking assistance, with food the most requested form of emergency relief.
“Christmas time provides another level of stress to people who are already struggling often compounded by feelings of guilt for parents who are unable to provide gifts or a decent meal,” he said.
“At what should be a time of joy and celebration, far too many West Australians face a bleak Christmas and we want to make sure we can help as many people as we can.
“We know the WA community is very generous so we hope they can support the Vinnies Christmas appeal which will provide much needed financial and practical assistance as well as food hampers and gifts for children who would otherwise wake up to nothing on Christmas morning.”
Last year more than 1000 Vinnie’s volunteers delivered 2000 Christmas hampers to people in need.
To donate call 13 18 12 or visit vinnies.org.au/christmasappeal.