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Samaritans Christmas Appeal Wraps Up

Samaritans Christmas Appeal 2015 showcased the generosity and willingness of the Diocese to support those in need at Christmas.

Christmas Lunch in the Park saw the community come together so that no one had to celebrate Christmas alone or go without.

The annual event hosted by Samaritans began 15 years ago as a simple lunch and has since grown into Newcastle’s largest Christmas celebration.

Over 700 guests enjoyed a free Christmas Lunch, entertainment and a visit from Santa with every child receiving a gift.

Recently retired Samaritans Chief Executive, Cec Shevels was delighted to see a diverse range of people attend.

“We’ve got people here from disability services, people who were sleeping in their car last night. This is the one day when everyone can come together to enjoy themselves,” Mr Shevels said.

Di Waller, who co-ordinated the Newcastle event, said 31 organisations pitched in to sponsor the event and 250 volunteers lent a helping hand.

“We simply couldn’t do it without the very kind support of our sponsors, volunteers and donations from the community,” Ms Waller said.

Christmas Lunches were also hosted in Singleton and Wyong. Wendy Love,
Co-ordinator for Singleton Christmas Lunch, was overwhelmed with the support from the Anglican Parish of Singleton.

“We receive amazing support, and for that, we can’t thank everyone enough. Over 200 guests attended the Lunch in Singleton, which included a visit from Santa and his Elf,” Ms Love said.

The Combined Charities Christmas Warehouse, run in partnership with Samaritans and The Salvation Army received truckloads of toy donations throughout the Diocese. Around 850 families were able to choose toys from the Warehouse for their children to open on Christmas morning.

Samaritans would like to thank the Parishes for their kind support of the Christmas Appeal 2015, which raised over $111,000 for people in need. Thanks to your kind efforts Samaritans was able to assist thousands of local families in need at Christmas time.