“Every year that goes past, one person on this planet should be breathing easier because of you. It’s that simple. Make it your annual goal.”
It’s my closing statement. The one thing I always say to high school students when I’m invited to speak at their valedictory dinners or graduation nights.
This Christmas, there are so many with so little. Or, in fact, nothing. They are the people (and animals) who are forgotten, are unseen, as we dash around scooping up toys and hanging twinkly lights and butchering Michael Buble’s Christmas album and arguing about whether to serve trifle or pudding for dessert on Christmas day (I say trifle, because TRIFLE).
They are the women in shelters. The jobless men sleeping in cars or in city doorways. The children ricocheting between foster carers. Or living on the street. Or in homes where despair sits like a heavy fog around the kitchen table. They are the animals that are left, forgotten, rescued who have lost faith in the kindness of human beings.
And so it is up to us – you and me – to step up.
There are hundreds of ways to give back over the Christmas season but we thought we’d make it easy for you and list a few wonderful campaigns that will make your heart soar better than any Hugh Grant –Dancing-To-The-Pointer-Sisters movie.
Read this list. Pick one thing and do it this Christmas season. Santa will love you all the more for it.
Over the last decade, the number of children living in foster care in Australia has doubled and as a group they have the worst educational outcomes of any group of children in Australia.
92% of children in foster care have below average reading skills by the time they are only seven years of age, and it is a struggle for them to catch up.
So that’s where The Pyjama Foundation steps in. The organisation sends “Reading Angels” into the homes of foster kids every week to read books aloud to the children, which in turn improves their literacy.
HOW TO HELP THIS CHRISTMAS: The Pyjama Foundation is holding their annual toy drive so they can give a present to every child in foster care. You can also sponsor a ‘Pyjama Angel’, who will help children in foster care to read.
Every year the Pyjama Foundation also hosts Christmas Parties throughout Queensland, Sydney and Melbourne to help the kids in their program. Call (07) 3256 8802 or check out their website for more.
This year the Smith Family is determined to spread Christmas cheer to the 638,000 Aussie children who live in jobless families. What I love about the Smith Family website is that you can choose a toy ONLINE and donate it.
Clickety-click from your desk and you can be tossing up between say a Puppy Surprise or a rather awesome looking Star Wars Walkie Talkie.
Enid Blyton couldn’t have made up something better than this … a Christmas tree that magically fills up with presents for disadvantaged kids. The Kmart Wishing tree is an institution and a great one to do with your own kids to help teach them about the power of giving and the combat skills necessary to survive a Kmart store in the lead up to Christmas. And remember when you place your gift under The Wishing Tree, make your own wish … something like, I don’t know maybe .. “Please don’t let Aunty Susan get drunk and touch my husband inappropriately again this year …”