On Friday I was awake before the birds to get to the airport for a girls weekend away. I’m sitting on the Virgin Blue flight, secretly thankful that it wasn’t Qantas, and with just 4 hours sleep my eye lids forced closed with the feeling that 10kg weights were pulling them down. Half way through the flight I awake from the notorious “head nod” that is ever so present on public transport! As I jolt awake a young, sad looking girl is staring at me through the screen on the seat back in front of me …the following words scroll across the bottom:
“Kids like her don’t need a global response”
“They just need you”
Please donate today
This visual woke me as if I had just had water splashed on my face. It got my brain ticking over thinking why are we so quick to purchase “a child” for $40 from an overseas charity at Christmas time yet we will be so fickle to only purchase “made in Australia” items in the shopping centre? I don’t disagree that third world countries need our help but there is so much help needed on our back doorsteps and some of us are too blind (or ignorant) to see it.
Sure purchase your undeniably cute, yet heart wrenching photo of a third world county child this Christmas but I beg you to also consider what else you can do for your community!
Donating to any cause online is ridiculously easy but giving back to your community is just as easy – here are just a few of examples (of millions) of ways you can assist your community this festive season.
TATTS FOR GOOD
Here’s one for the tattoo lovers out there! Support local under-privileged children by heading to Old Skool Tattoo in Springwood this Sunday 28th November – donate a brand new toy valued at over $40 and in return you can get some new ink for free! (If you’re not in QLD why not do something similar in your community or workplace!)
TOY & BOOK APPEALS
Toy appeals and food drives are extremely popular at Christmas time with most large organisations running a drive for a charity of their choice. I have seen these at gyms, community centers, banks, large shopping chains and schools. Check your local newspaper for an indication on where you can drop in an old (or new) toy, book or canned food to help the disadvantaged enjoy Christmas that little bit more. Here is an example:
The Smith Family Toy & Book Appeal
Donate a new toy or book at your local Bank of Queensland branch
The teams at BOQ branches are helping The Smith Family collect thousands of new toys and books for disadvantaged children this Christmas as part of our Toy and Book Appeal. The branches will act as a drop-off point for new toys and books donated by the public throughout November. To locate your local store please visit
This year the charity aims to deliver 17,000 Christmas packs to disadvantaged Aussie kids.
COMMUNITY WALKING GROUPS
Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s largest network of free community-based walking groups, led by volunteer Walk Organisers. Many people can’t afford (or dislike) fitness clubs so by joining a walking group you are supporting Heart Foundation awareness tactics, getting fit and allowing other community members social interaction and physical enjoyment where they otherwise might not have access to. Plus you get can get fit and make some new friends too. This is not necessarily Christmas specific but a great way you can put back all year around!
Gift wrapping is a great way for small charities and community groups to fundraise but generally they need volunteers. Check in with your local shopping center or community group for gift wrapping sessions near you. A few hours donated is invaluable and hey you might even get a chance to wrap all your own gifts too!
I could literally harp on for hours more but I won’t! I will drop posts on great initiatives I come across and in the mean time I hope I have helped to encourage you to think locally for charity.
PS Did you know there are over 680,000 financially disadvantaged children in Australia(according to The Smith Family)? I wonder what some of them will they wake up to this Christmas? I hope my small donation of dust collecting toys & books (that clean up beautifully) can deliver smiles to some of their faces.