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Community helps ac.care brighten Christmas for hundreds of families

COMMUNITY APPEAL: More than 500 toys and other gifts were donated through the appeal at Big W in the Mount Gambier Marketplace and collected by ac.care to deliver to vulnerable families in time for Christmas. Pictured are ac.care’s Sarah Alfraij, Big W Mount Gambier manager Kim Coulson and Mount Gambier Marketplace marketing executive Paula Creasey
COMMUNITY APPEAL: More than 500 toys and other gifts were donated through the appeal at Big W in the Mount Gambier Marketplace and collected by ac.care to deliver to vulnerable families in time for Christmas. Pictured are ac.care’s Sarah Alfraij, Big W Mount Gambier manager Kim Coulson and Mount Gambier Marketplace marketing executive Paula Creasey

NEW toys, vouchers and food hampers have been provided to families across the Limestone Coast, Riverland and Murraylands, including hundreds of children who will wake up to something special on Christmas day, thanks to broad community support.
“We are grateful for the many community appeals to help us support vulnerable people this Christmas after the number of people registering for assistance has increased, with many impacted by job losses and other pressures due to COVID-19,” ac.care chief executive officer Shane Maddocks said.
More than 190 families, including hundreds of children, received gifts distributed at the Mount Gambier Community Centre thanks to support from across the community, including the Mount Gambier Mayor’s Community Christmas Appeal, Mount Gambier Family Truck Show and many businesses that hosted giving trees, together with churches, schools, service clubs and individuals.
Gifts distributed at the centre were lovingly packed into Christmas sacks made and donated by the Pine Tree Quilters, adding a creative festive flair to the appeal.
A joint agencies appeal in Murray Bridge supported more than 230 families, including hundreds of children, with Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge Marketplace and BIG W customers among many significant and diverse contributors to appeals in both regions.
Clients registered with ac.care also benefited from appeals in the Riverland.

BRIGHTENING CHRISTMAS: Connie and her daughter were among hundreds of people to collect hampers for their children and grandchildren at ac.care's Mount Gambier Community Centre in the lead-up to Christmas thanks to donations from diverse supporters of the country agency.
BRIGHTENING CHRISTMAS: Connie and her daughter were among hundreds of people to collect hampers for their children and grandchildren at ac.care's Mount Gambier Community Centre in the lead-up to Christmas thanks to donations from diverse supporters of the country agency.

Connie and her daughter were among hundreds of people to collect hampers for their children and grandchildren at ac.care's Mount Gambier Community Centre in the lead-up to Christmas.
Connie said she had relied on JobSeeker after being made redundant, but said there was increased pressure on people with limited incomes at Christmas.
“It has been a struggle going from having a long-term job for many years to being unemployed, but ac.care has helped, initially with emergency housing when we returned to Mount Gambier to be close to family and throughout the past year when we have needed assistance with food and other support,” she said.

“This place is lovely with people who are not judgemental and go out of their way to help you however they can, especially at Christmas time, which is tough without a wage.”

SPREADING SMILES: ac.care foster care placement support worker Anne-Maree Irvine and regional foster care manager Sherri Winter collect gifts from Mount Gambier and District Community Bank staff after the branch hosted a wishing tree to collect gifts for children in foster care.
SPREADING SMILES: ac.care foster care placement support worker Anne-Maree Irvine and regional foster care manager Sherri Winter collect gifts from Mount Gambier and District Community Bank staff after the branch hosted a wishing tree to collect gifts for children in foster care.

Meanwhile, the Mount Gambier and District Community Bank, Lions clubs across the regions, Good360 Australia and other supporters, including diverse businesses, helped ac.care provide extra toys for children in foster and residential care at Christmas, along with special cakes as a gift of gratitude from the community to dedicated foster carers.

“Thank you to each and every person in the community who has helped us extend the spirit of giving during the festive season to make Christmas brighter for people in our communities facing challenges at this time of year,” Mr Maddocks said.

“It is truly appreciated and makes a difference by reminding vulnerable people they are valued at this time of year and that support is available, while helping families extend their budget to cover essential costs and not miss out on having gifts for their children and something special for the table at Christmas – thank you from us all at ac.care.”
Online donations to accare.org.au/donate also boosted ac.care’s support to vulnerable people at Christmas and helped increase the agency’s impact throughout the year.

TREASURED SUPPORT: ac.care foster care manager Sherri Winter (right) with members of the Pine Tree Quilters during the recent handover of 17 hand-made quilts to be donated to children in foster care on the Limestone Coast, along with 139 Santa sacks and 10 small drawstring bags to brighten distribution of donated goods to vulnerable people for Christmas.
TREASURED SUPPORT: ac.care foster care manager Sherri Winter (right) with members of the Pine Tree Quilters during the recent handover of 17 hand-made quilts to be donated to children in foster care on the Limestone Coast, along with 139 Santa sacks and 10 small drawstring bags to brighten distribution of donated goods to vulnerable people for Christmas.
FESTIVE JOY: Riverland placement support workers Michelle and Melissa enjoyed distributing gifts provided via ac.care’s partnership with Good360 to foster carers to provide to children in their homes at Christmas. National charity Good360 diverts surplus goods from retailers to community organisations.
FESTIVE JOY: Riverland placement support workers Michelle and Melissa enjoyed distributing gifts provided via ac.care’s partnership with Good360 to foster carers to provide to children in their homes at Christmas. National charity Good360 diverts surplus goods from retailers to community organisations.