WITH the season of giving nearly upon us, those who would like to brighten the holiday for a child, adult or family in need is an easy process.
One in eight Australians live in poverty, and Operation Santa, an initiative that teams-up of community service provider UnitingCare and Target Australia, has brought the giving tree to the Inverell Target store on Byron Street once again.
The tree is up from now until Christmas Eve as a centre for gift giving for those who have something to those who may not during the holidays.
Reverend Jean Bell of the Inverell Uniting Church has been a part of the project for about 15 years.
“Imagine not being able to provide Christmas presents for your children. This is a bleak prospect facing thousands of families this Christmas. Uniting Care needs you help to ensure this doesn’t happen here,” Rev Bell said.
Shoppers can purchase a gift in Target or bring in a purchased gift from anywhere to put under the tree.
Tags hang from the tree that can be filled out to designate the age or gender of the recipient.
The tree also offers Target vouchers for shoppers for families with multiple needs or teenagers. The vouchers have a two-year lifespan.
Rev Bell said because the holiday appeal reminds people of little children or the elderly in need, it’s the adolescents who often miss out.
“That’s where the gift vouchers come in handy,” she said.
The gifts will be safely stored and distributed to those in need in the Inverell area during the Uniting Church Christmas lunch and elsewhere in the community.
Inverell Target manager Louise Mayled said a local preschool has already committed to Operation Santa.
“They’re doing a Christmas function, and of course, all the little ones have got to take some sort of a gift, but then they asked if they could actually then donate those gifts to the tree. We’ll receive those the week before Christmas.”
“I always make sure someone goes home with something,” Rev Bell said.
UnitingCare and Target aim to collect 100,000 gifts and $200,000 in gift cards to assist close to 600,000 familles nationwide.
The tree can be found in the Inverell Target store. Employees can answer questions and more information can be found on www.operationsanta.org.au.