South West Christmas appeal

Nicolette BarbasSouth Western Times
InTown Centre chairman David Bailey is encouraging the community to band together and donate what they can for the annual Shoebox Appeal.
Camera IconInTown Centre chairman David Bailey is encouraging the community to band together and donate what they can for the annual Shoebox Appeal. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

Every year, charities and organisations across the South West collect Christmas presents for children who may not otherwise receive anything, attempting to ease the hardship faced by many in the community.

But with a global pandemic and a spike in poverty, this year the demand has dramatically increased.

A report from UnitingCareWA in September revealed COVID-19 had left many West Australians living below the poverty line.

With limited gathering and travel restrictions, not-for-profit organisations are struggling to keep the Christmas cheer alive and are asking the community to dig even deeper this year.

InTown Centre chairman David Bailey said the pandemic had made things extremely challenging for various charities across the globe.

“I think people’s attention has been focused solely on COVID-19 this year and that has impacted a lot of charities,” Mr Bailey said.

“But when the Bunbury community jump on board, they respond generously.

I am confident the community will band together to help us put a smile on the faces of many children around the South West with this year’s ninth annual Shoebox Appeal.

Bunbury residents have been asked to fill a shoebox with items such as toiletries, socks, sanitary items, snacks and something Christmas themed for the InTown Centre’s 9th Shoebox Appeal.

Salvation Army corps officer Mark Schatz said the restrictions with COVID-19 had made this year increasingly difficult. “Those who may have been able to donate say $50 can only donate $10 now,” Mr Schatz said.

“Keeping with the government laws and the sign in/out registers have also added a layer of complexity onto what we would normally do but it hasn’t stopped us either.

“We are forging forward through this with the community, we don’t want to leave anyone behind and that is our motto this year we want to carry everyone through the best way we can.”

During the height of COVID-19, Foodbank WA continued to provide essential food and groceries to more than 400 charity partners Statewide who assist people in need of emergency food relief.

“Our fundamental belief at Foodbank WA is that no child should go without food, especially at Christmas time,” Foodbank WA CEO Greg Hebble said.

“This festive season we are expecting to provide more than 1 million meals for people in need throughout WA and this is only possible with the generous support from our community.

“If COVID-19 has taught us nothing else, it is that we are all vulnerable at different times and that the West Australian community is incredibly resilient and giving when faced with adversity.”

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