As we head into the New Year, the team at UnitingCare West would like to thank everyone in our community for the generous support shown during our 2018 Christmas Appeal.

CEO Amanda Hunt said demand from families for food and gifts over the festive season was unprecedented, with hundreds of hampers delivered from each of our three Service Hubs in Perth City, Merriwa and Fremantle.

“Thank you for answering our call for help, to support families doing it tough to experience a sense of belonging at Christmas time,” Ms Hunt said.

“People like Janice and her family, who took the time to share with us what this support means to them at Christmas.”

“You guys have enabled me and my family to reach out even more to all the children we care for - it has benefited us all particularly over the last couple of years.

“We are a family of mum and dad, plus six young people in the home, (sometimes more kids as we are foster parents too) so Christmas can be a difficult time to ensure everyone gets a small something.

“However, with you guys alongside us, you have enable us to spread the love even more!

“Last year we received a brand new bike for my only girl aged five. She was so happy and rides it all the time. She struggles significantly with her balance and co-ordination so the training wheels have been so helpful.

“We really appreciate the thought that you all put into ensuring my other children were well catered for too. To get the phone call to come and pick up ‘a little something for your family’ turned into an amazing experience and I felt extremely humbled by your generosity.

“I just want to let those people know just how much their donation makes an impact on our family.

“We are so grateful and thankful. We will continue to try to grow healthy, happy and caring young people as best as we can, so they too will grow up and adopt the same culture of 'giving back' to our community as you do.”

Ms Hunt said that for the three million Australians living in poverty, Christmas was often a time of heightened stress, exacerbating the sense of financial and social isolation they already experience on a daily basis.

“A recent ACOSS Poverty Report revealed that people experiencing poverty at the highest rates are relying on government allowances – 64 per cent on the Youth Allowance and 55 per cent on Newstart,” Ms Hunt said.

“A sense of belonging is one of the greatest gifts we can give people and families caught in the cycle of entrenched poverty, not only at Christmas, but all year round.

“By helping us to provide this support, you’re enabling people to make a difference in their own lives and be a part of a caring community where we all belong.”

To donate to UnitingCare West phone 1300 663 298 or click here.