For many families, Christmas is a time full of blessings, gifts, and special meals with loved ones.
But for some, this time of year can present emotional and financial stress.
Newcastle Anglican’s service agency Samaritans has launched its 2023 Christmas Appeal to support those who are struggling in our region.
Samaritans President Bishop Peter Stuart said the charity had been sharing Christmas generosity, kindness, and goodwill with as many families as possible for more than 20 years.
“Every year, Samaritans supports thousands of people in our community who do not have sufficient resources for food, utilities, and basic living needs,” he said.
“We know that people’s emotional and financial struggles become more intense during the festive season. Often, it is harder to get support.
“Samaritans is committed to making a positive difference. This year, as you prepare to celebrate Christmas with your loved ones, we are inviting you to extend the spirit of Christmas by supporting others.”
Donations to Samaritans Christmas Appeal will provide local families with crisis care programs, a safe place to stay, emergency food supplies, Christmas lunch, and gifts to put under their Christmas tree.
Money raised will also help support Samaritans programs throughout 2024.
Samaritans Emergency Relief (ER) Coordinator Beth Hanna said its centres had helped more than 4,000 people across the region in the last financial year.
She added many were struggling with cost-of-living pressures, including high rent, large increases in electricity and gas bills, and a rise in fuel and mortgage rates.
“Based on conversations we have with participants through ER, Christmas will place additional pressures on household budgets that are already feeling the strain,” she said.
“Many of the people we see have indicated they are worried about how they will provide gifts for their children and meet the extra demands of Christmas.
“There is also an emerging trend of people who are employed seeking support through ER as they find it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.
“They tell us they are living from payday to payday with no ability to put anything aside for ‘rainy days’ or to provide what they see as their responsibility for Christmas Day celebrations and gifts.”
Visit www.samaritans.org.au/donate for more information about how you can contribute to Samaritans 2023 Christmas Appeal.