Holiday Charity Special

Christmas is a time for family, love and charity, right? Ciao gives you a run down of local and national charity endeavours that you and your family can support this silly season by volunteering your time, money or gifts.
Be a Christmas Grinch no more!

Toy and Food Drives
Bernardo’s Gift and Wrapping Drive

Child Protection charity, Bernardo’s, is looking for gift donations this Christmas.

Christmas can be a particularly hard time for the children and families that Bernardo’s helps as Christmas time brings higher rates of family abuse, financial pressure, and makes estrangement from family more evident.

Bernardo’s allows donors to pick presents online and physically drop off gifts until December 19th, which are then directly sent to children in need. Bernardo’s are also holding gift-wrapping sessions at Central Park Shopping Centre on the December 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th.

Bernardo’s runs a Find-a-Family centre in Ashfield, which matches children who have been permanently removed from their families with long and short-term carers. They have a 90% success rate of matching children with long-term carers.

  • To donate a gift online go to:
  • To find out more about their gift-wrapping fundraiser visit their website:
Anglicare’s Toys ‘n’ Tucker Appeal

Community welfare organisation , Anglicare Sydney, will be packing Christmas hampers of toys and food for low-income families.

A focus on food is in response to Anglicare’s survey of 40,000 people who made visits to Anglicare Emergency Releif Centres across Sydney and the Illawara this year.

The Survery showed that of these people, two out of three households were trying to live on less than $500 per week. One in ten families with children were living in emergency accommodation, refuges, cars, or on the street. Food has become harder to come by as rental prices have increased.

  • To donate toys online to families that Anglicare support visit:
  • Alternatively, food and toys can be dropped off at Anglicare Mt Druitt, 91a Kurrajong St, Mt Druitt 
Fishes and Loaves by The Exodus Foundation

The Exodus Foundation is a charity based in Ashfield that combats disadvantage by providing food, education, and social health services without discrimination to those who need it most.

Exodus and Reverend Bill Cruise have received plenty of media attention for the Loaves and Fishes Restaurant they open up every Christmas Day to provide a free Christmas lunch to poor, needy, lonely and homeless people in the area. This year they are expecting 3,000-4,000 people to grace they Loaves and Fishes restaurant.

  • You can apply to Volunteer at the Loaves and Fishes Restaurant by visiting:
  • Organise a food drive or toy donations in your workplace or family and donate them to the Loaves and Fishes Restaurant, call 8752 4670 or email to organize a drop off
  • You can donate to the Exodus Foundation online at:
Donate time or dosh
Asylum Seeker families supported by Art Space

Sydney Creative Playground in Marrickville is a not-for-profit art space for children ages one-five. Its unique “buy one/give one” pass allows parents to donate a ticket into the space for a child that does not have the financial means to pay for a ticket.

Sydney Creative Playground has recently announced that due to this payment program it will be able to work with the Asylum Seeker’s Centre in Newtown to provide an outreach program for recently settled refugee families.

The Creative Playground is a space filled with a variety of craft and art materials for children to creatively express themselves in an open-ended and inspiring environment.

Variety Santa Fun Run 

Variety is an Australian children’s charity committed to empowering Australian children who are sick, disadvantaged or have special needs to gain mobility, independence and self-esteem.

This year Variety has organized the Santa Fun Run taking place in 11 cities across Australia, including Sydney. Every participant is given a ‘red’splendent santa suit so the run, taking place on Sunday December 7th, will be quite a sight.

The run is 5km long from Darling Harbour to the Sydney Opera House.

CanTeen’s Christmas appeal – supporting siblings of cancer patients

CanTeen is running a unique drive this Christmas by providing support to young persons who have a sibling with cancer. Living with a sibling who has cancer can be an extremely difficult experience to endure. Watching your sibling suffer and your family go through the pain of the illness is a lot for a young person to manage.

CanTeen offers support groups and the chance to meet with other young people in similar situations. In addition to this they provide professional help to siblings and families where it is needed.

The support drive has a target of reaching $223, 225 raised before January 31st 2014.

To donate online go to:

Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Christmas Appeal

The Northern Region Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service is a non-for-profit community organization based near Bryon Bay in Northern New South Wales, servicing the areas where a lot of Inner-Westies spend their holidays.

The helicopter rescue is charged with the responsibility of ensuring residents and visitors to the region have the possibility of aero-rescue available free of charge. The helicopters take regional patients to hospitals and rescue people from dangerous situations, and have been involved in approximately six to seven rescue missions per week for 30 years.

With many people visiting the area for the silly season, the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Service needs your help.

  • You can donate to the Life Saver Rescue Helicopter Christmas Appeal online at:

Giving gift ideas
The Social Outfit 

The Social Outfit is a non-for-profit clothing studio and registered charity based on King Street in Newtown. The Social Outfit uses creativity and fashion to provide an educational and financial base for people from new migrant and refugee communities in Sydney.

The Social Outfit transforms designer material off-cuts into beautiful, simple fashion statements, with all proceeds from the sales going to refugee and migrant community employed manufacturing staff and sales assistants.

  • To view The Social Outfits catalogue, or to volunteer at the store, go to
  • Buy The Social Outfit garments from their store at 353 King Street, Newtown.
Oz Harvest – New Cookbook 

Alexandria-based charity, OzHarvest, has delivered 27 million meals across Australia since 2004, saving 8,100 tonnes of food from landfill.

This Christmas they are releasing a new cookbook, Urban Harvest, to raise funds for meal collection and delivery in the years to come. All proceeds from the book will go towards OzHarvest, with each dollar spent making the delivery of two salvaged meals possible.

The book includes 100 recipes from top chefs such as Guillame Brahimi, Matt Moran and Neil Perry.

Oz Harvest’s director, Ronni Kahn, says he hopes the book inspires people, families and communities to embrace local and seasonal produce, reduce food waste and to get involved in growing their own produce.

  • You can buy Urban Harvest or sign up to volunteer for Oz Harvest’s services at
Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer

SIDs and Kids has launched a range of Christmas gifts and decorations inspired by their iconic ‘Red Nose Day’. SIDS and Kids is a non-for-profit organization which supports families who have experienced the death of a baby from sudden infant death syndrome, and families who have experienced the sudden and unexpected death of a child regardless of the cause.

Their SIDS safe sleeping program has been largely responsible for the 80% reduction in sudden infant deaths in Australia.

You can order red nose Christmas decorations, Rudolph noses and t-shirts, designed by the likes of Manning Cartell, Trelise Cooper and Nicola Finetti, at their online store to support the cause.

Redkite’s Sydney Golden Ticket

Children’s Cancer charity, Redkite has teamed with Qantas Credit Union Arena (formerly the Entertainment Centre) to create the Sydney Golden Ticket, the perfect gift for a staff Kris Kringle.

The Golden Ticket raffle winner will recieve double tickets to every single show at QCUA in 2015, including; Ed Sheeran, Guy Sebastian, Kylie Minogue, Paul Simon, The Eagles, Rod Stewart and many more, as well as all the Sydney Kings Games played at the Arena.

Redkite’s mission is to provide all children, teenagers and young adults with cancer with the financial and emotional support to keep their lives on track, including their career, studies and relationships.

Entries into Sydney’s Golden Ticket Raffle close on December 14th, with all proceeds going towards Redkite’s music therapy program which employs seven music therapists across Australia.

  • Buy a Sydney’s Golden Ticket raffle ticket at:
Smith Family’s Christmas Appeal to close the Reading Gap.

Reading skills are crucial to a child’s capacity to engage in education and learning, and yet, across Australia, many vulnerable children and young people aren’t meeting national minimum standards. Before a child starts school they should have the foundations for future literacy, but sadly, only 65% of Australian children aged 0-5 from low socio-economic communities are read to regularly, compared to 80% in more advantaged areas.

The Smith Family’s 2014 Christmas Appeal aims to raise $3.895 million around the country, which will be channelled into our literacy and reading programs for disadvantaged children and young people.

You can donate to The Smith Family’s Christmas Appeal by visiting or by calling 1800 024 069

Alternatively, contribute to the Toy & Book Appeal by donating a gift.

Christmas at Edith Avenue, Concord

Cancer Council NSW is supporting a unique drive this Christmas. Phillip Salhab and his neighbour have been working hard to light up their entire house with festive lights and decorations. On Friday December 5th, Phillip will open his front yard every night from 7pm – 11:30pm to help raise funds and awareness for Cancer Council.

Cancer Council is the only organisation that works across every area of cancer through research, support and advocating government action in order to aid in the fight against cancer.

Phillip and his family have decided to fundraise for Cancer Council NSW this year after being affected by the widespread nature of this disease.

“Unfortunately a lot of people we have spoken to have been touched by cancer in someway or another. Even if someone just donates $1, this gets us $1 closer to kicking cancer in the butt.” said Phillip. Funds raised will go towards cancer research, support and prevention programs.

Visitors are asked to make a donation to Cancer Council on the night, or through Phillip’s online donation page:

RSPCA prepares for Summer

The RSPCA is preparing for the inevitable spike in animals calling its shelters home. It is expected that 11,000 new animals will be kept in the RSPCA shelters over the Summer season.

RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman says the numbers are astounding.

“Last year, another 5,700 cats were added to the 720 already in the RSPCA’s care and room was found for 3,110 dogs as well as the 665 already in shelters across the state,” he said.

Each of these animals come with their own story of neglect, cruelty or abandonment but all need care.

There are stories of hope, however, such as Ollie the Staffy who came in as a stray puppy with a severe skin condition. After five months of intensive treatment his skin healed and he was adopted into a loving family.

“Ollie’s story wouldn’t be possible, without the ongoing and generous support of the community. It costs RSPCA NSW $43.3M a year to operate, with less than 1% coming from the state government.” said Mr Coleman.

To become an RSPCA Guardian Angel this Christmas visit: