Blue Mountains News

Giving More Than Just Smiles This Christmas

Source: Christmas Smiles - Blue Mountains and Penrith
Archived 13 Nov 2017 - Posted: 14 Sep 2017
With less then 2 weeks until 2017’s official community Christmas Drive commences, we thought it pertinent to provide you with exactly what is happening and what our community’s Domestic Violence, Homeless Community Warriors together with families facing unimaginable times ideally need this Christmas. Many hands do indeed make light work and ensures CHRISTMAS FOR ALL.

For those unfamiliar with Christmas Smiles we are “the middle man”. A non-for profit charity, whose client’s are extraordinary local charities across the Penrith, Blue Mountains and Greater Hawkesbury regions.

Most gifts we collect are simply dust collectors at people’s homes i.e. unwanted presents or unused brand new items the kids have grown out of etc. and will never use. So it is a free yet amazing process to be part of. Of course people also pick up bargains at the likes of Kmart or prefer to make monetary donations for us to buy any gaps left at completion. We have no administration cost or ANY COSTS; we are simple people helping people together with our community with specific Christmas dreams.

A note from our client’s and some background to assist:

Gateway Family Services

Kerry Thomas Executive Officer, Gateway Blaxland Community Services

"The gifts and toys provided through Christmas Smiles in 2016 truly made the difference between some children and their families having Christmas joy or not.

The CS team had a passion for ensuring that people just didn’t ‘get by’ at Christmas but actually had real cause to celebrate even in the midst of some pretty tough circumstances.

The team also had this happy knack of encouraging our workers and volunteers as well and as a service we experienced real joy at being able to give generously to our clients. Many were overwhelmed with the generosity because they expect nothing good in their circumstances. To know that people have gone out of their way not to just give but to give generously certainly made such a difference."

Gateway Family Services assists families all year round with incredible round the clock aid, resources, counseling and so much more. They provide food hampers at Christmas to those who would otherwise not have Christmas. Christmas Smiles provides gifts to compliment. With regards to donations there are no wrong gifts. Catering for families means babies to seniors. There seems to be a lack most years with men and teenage boys if you wanted a specific target.

Mama Lana’s Community Foundation

Lana Borg, Founder, Mama Lana’s Community Foundation:

"Mama Lana's are so grateful for the support of the community via Christmas Smiles. The benefits to our patrons have been enormous, with Christmas Smiles going out of their way each time to find out their specific needs. This is so important, as people who donate can be assured that they are directly assisting those in need. If you want to make a significant difference in your local community this Christmas, this is definitely a great way to do it."

Mama Lana’s Community Foundation serves hot meals 6 nights a week (plus many other services) to the local Penrith homeless warriors. This year we are collecting used (or new) large suitcases on wheels or anything portable i.e. jewelry, backpacks, caps, sunglasses, camel packs, foam sleeping mats etc.

Penrith Women’s Health Services

Jane Gold, Manager, Penrith Women’s Health Services:

"Christmas Smiles in 2016 provided Penrith Women’s Health Centre’s Women and Children so much joy. The generosity of our Community meant we were able to hand out gifts for our vulnerable families who would have normally gone without.

The Workers here had many of the mums break down in tears when we distributed the gifts. They did not believe our Community cared so much. It is very exciting that Christmas Smiles will reach more families this coming Christmas to share the joy once again.

Thank you in advance to all who will contribute to Christmas Smiles in 2017.”

Amongst many services Penrith Women’s Health Services provide start up kits for Domestic Violence Warriors starting from scratch. So kids toys through to household basics and women’s wear or simple nice beauty products to feel special, we purchased alot from Kmart last year. (Plus large amounts from mums that had surplus goods).

Hawkesbury Helping Hands

Linda Strickland, Founder, Hawkesbury Helping Hands

"We are backed strongly by our community, however Christmas Smiles ensure we receive items we are lacking. They collect and store it for us, as storage is limited and ultimately take a little pressure off hard to obtain donations. Please help them continue to help our community and thank you for those who donated to the sleeping bags for our rough sleepers."

Hawkesbury Helping hands are the bones of their region. A 24/7 NFP serving meals to those in need. This year we are collecting men’s gifts (new) and fabric shopping trolleys on wheels new or used.

Collection and contact:

Christmas Drive: Oct 1st – November 15th (Ensuring time for client’s to prepare)

We have volunteers from Penrith to Katoomba so please see below contact details on who to contact to get involved. Everything you need to know is within our Facebook and Website below.

Christmas Smiles - Blue Mountains and Penrith


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