Be truly generous this Christmas

Bernadette Cullen, Bridie Dekunder and Raquel Mayman from Uniting getting ready for Christmas with Lenie Smolenaars and Vin Claxton from St Vincent de Paul Society. Photo: Contributed

LOCAL organisations across Wellington Shire are seeking support from the community to spread Christmas cheer this year.
Uniting, Lions clubs across Wellington Shire, St Vincent de Paul in Sale and Maffra, and the Salvation Army have joined together to support families by providing food, toys and gifts generously donated by the community.
Uniting Gippsland executive officer Di Fisher said the Christmas appeal was one of the highlights of each year.
“For all of the agencies, being able to put smiles on the faces of families and provide gifts to children and young people is so rewarding,” Ms Fisher said.
“We are determined that no one is going to go without a gift this Christmas.”
St Vincent de Paul spokesperson Bill Smolenaars said the group was seeking the support of businesses and individuals who may be able to help reach this goal in communities across Gippsland.
“It could be by donating, or by offering to collect physical donations, like gifts, toys or food on our behalf,” Mr Smolenaars said.
It is expected there will be an increased need this year.
Ms Fisher said as the pandemic continued, they had noticed a significant increase in the need for support through their emergency relief program.
“We expect this need will flow into the Christmas period and that more people will need some support to get them through.”
The joint Christmas appeal is reliant on strong community support.
The Salvation Army’s Belinda Alcock thanked the organisations which had already committed their support this year.
“We ask any other businesses, groups or individuals who are interesting in supporting this initiative to get in touch,” she said.
Sale Lions Club spokesperson Stephen Boyce said the appeal was a major activity each year, and had grown over time.
“The Lions Club of Sale has delivered assistance at Christmas since 1974,” he said.
Donations of food and gifts can be left at the Uniting Op Shop in Raymond St, Sale, or at Uniting offices across Gippsland.
Donations may also be left at St Vincent de Paul in Sale and Maffra, Uniting at 126 Raymond St, Sale, the Uniting Kilmany Op Shop at 407 Raymond St, Sale, and the Salvation Army at 139 Cunninghame St, Sale.
Anyone wanting to help should phone Tracey Sheilds at Uniting on 5144 7777, or email