GIVIT is helping the communities of Yarloop and Cookernup with a special Christmas celebration this year and is calling for help from the Western Australian community.

GIVIT, a website which connects charities and service providers with donations from the general public, is currently seeking donations of Christmas decorations for a special celebration in Yarloop

The party, taking place next month – almost a year on from fires which devastated the South-West community – is planned to be a happy occasion and an opportunity to thank all the volunteers who have assisted the town since the January fires.

Julie-Ann McMiles, Manager of the Yarloop Community Resource Centre said the fire destroyed all of their festive decorations.

“Unfortunately last January the fire that destroyed our town, also destroyed all our celebratory decorations held in the community resource centre. We want to make this event extra special by decorating the Cookernup Hall, the venue for the celebrations,” she said.

Ms McMiles said each year the Community Resource Centre hosts a special thank a volunteer Christmas Party, but this year they are not only starting from scratch but are also hosting a bigger event to acknowledge the enormous volunteer efforts over the last 11 months.

“We would normally hold it in Yarloop at the Railway Workshops, but we obviously lost those in the fires. We also lost our own building, the resource centre, which housed all of our decorations.

“We are expecting bigger numbers this year as we have invited not only the volunteers from the larger organisations, like our local firies, but also everyone who helped after the fires – from those who cooked food to people who carted water,” she said.

GIVIT has launched in WA this year and the organisation’s State Manager Anna Presser hopes to see it get off to a flying start helping in Yarloop.

“It’s such a simple concept – almost like a free Gumtree. Charities can simply login to GIVIT’s website, make a request for practical essential items they need and then we call for members of the public to log on and see what they can provide.

“Likewise, members of the public who have good quality unwanted items that they wish to donate to charity can upload them online in our ‘virtual warehouse’ for charities to browse and pick up for their clients in need.”

Ms Presser said GIVIT is very much aimed at being the “charity for charities” and that GIVIT could be likened to a “free, charitable Gumtree.”

“So many people want to be able to give to those in need, or have great quality items at home they no longer require but want to see go to a good home.

“GIVIT bridges that gap between charities and people who wish to give and helps make it really easy for both parties,” she said.

Ms McMiles said their special Christmas Celebrations were being hosted on Thursday December 8, and they were seeking donations of purple and silver Christmas decorations to help make it something very special for the community and tireless volunteers.

“We have had a really tough year and Christmas is about bringing a bit of joy which is what we hope to do with this event,” she said.

More than 80 volunteers are expected to attend the Christmas Celebration. Donations to the centre can be made by logging into givit.org.au, clicking on ‘Donate Items’ then searching for ‘Yarloop’.

For more information or interviews please contact Lorelei Campbell on lorelei@givit.org.au.

yarloopcrc

It’s unbelievable how vulnerable children are in Australia. One in six children living in poverty has always been a shameful statistic, but also is the number of kids in care.

We know that 8,000 children in Queensland live in care. Those carers providing a temporary and loving family to our most vulnerable children do such a wonderful job and give the children gifts, but, we can all do more to support them this Christmas.

The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities has asked us to source 8,000 gifts to give to those Kids in Care who are in need. I was overwhelmed by the number, and I still am. I’m mostly sad about the number of babies, and equally sad that it is hard to find toys for the teens. We need to support these children by adding an extra something special for them under the tree.

Can you imagine you or your children living in another person’s home this season? Some kids are happy, but some are desperately missing their own families. We know, we truly know because charities tell us so, that donations of gifts and toys make a massive difference to each and every child. These simple gifts make the children feel loved, special and cared for. Receiving presents at Christmas could be the most wonderful experience for these children.

Our Kids in Care gift drive offers a wonderful opportunity to connect to these vulnerable kids and help brighten their day. We need 8,000 gifts for our children in care, in regions right across the state. If you’d like to donate, you can give items via the GIVIT Kids website, or donate money to buy items locally.

Thank you,
Juliette

juliette-with-sara-and-hudson

Queenslanders are being encouraged to brighten the festive season for children living in out-of-home care by donating a present to the Kids in Care Christmas gift drive.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman kicked off the drive on November 14, which aims to see a present donated for every child and young person in care, from newborns to children aged 17.

“We are asking Queenslanders to show their support for kids in care and purchase an extra gift when they are out Christmas shopping,” she said.

“We all know it takes a village to raise a child, and this is absolutely the case for children who are unable to live with their families.

“The Kids in Care Christmas gift drive is the perfect way for Queenslanders to play their part in supporting our kids, by donating a gift for a child or young people who is unable to live with their own family this Christmas.

“These gifts from the community are a way for everyone to support our kids in care, as well as their carers who do a wonderful job all year round.”

Ms Fentiman called on schools and the business community to get involved and throw their support behind the gift drive.

“It would be wonderful to see schools and businesses across Queensland get behind our kids in care by encouraging donations and collecting gifts,” she said.

“With more than 8000 children in care we need plenty of gifts that will go right around the state to reach children.

“I urge all Queenslanders to get into the Christmas spirit, show your support and give generously to this drive.”

The gift drive is being coordinated by the Palaszczuk Government in partnership with GIVIT.

Road Boss Rally Cars will also work with GIVIT to collect and deliver gifts to various locations across Queensland.

GIVIT CEO Juliette Wright said gifts should be suited to a broad range of children and teenagers in care.

“We are honoured to be working in partnership with the Queensland Government to help source gifts for our children in care this Christmas,” Ms Wright said.

“GIVIT is a national not-for-profit connecting those who have with those in need.

“Through our website essential items are donated every day by generous Queenslanders wanting to help others in need.

“This Christmas you can help bring a smile to a child in care, all you need to do is give a gift via our website or donate funds towards purchasing them.”

Suitable presents are items to the value of about $20, like toys, gift cards, sporting equipment, board games, clothes and books.

For more information, including donation points and gift ideas visit GIVIT’s website.

The independent committee managing the distribution of funds raised by GIVIT’s Gold Coast Appeal has met and decided to release money immediately.

The first payment made through the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal Independent Distribution Committee is aimed to provide relief to the immediate and emergent needs of the families of those who lost their lives at Dreamworld.

Committee chair, Catherine O’Sullivan, said the generosity of Australians in both the public and private sectors has been astounding.

“The appeal has already received in excess of $200,000 and more has been pledged,” Ms O’Sullivan said.

“We know that after heartbreaking incidents like the one that happened at Dreamworld, there is an outpouring of generosity from those who want to give.

“I can confirm that the intent of this committee is to distribute 100% of the money received by the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal to the families of those directly impacted by the Dreamworld tragedy.

“It’s vitally important that people who donate know that this committee is independent and is acting quickly to make sure funds are available to meet any immediate and emergent needs that these families may have.”

Those who wish to donate are urged to go to givit.org.au or head into any Westpac branch and say they want to give to “GIVIT’s Gold Coast Appeal”.

Background
GIVIT was approached by the City of Gold Coast to be the platform for the appeal, after an interagency meeting including Queensland Health and Red Cross determined a need for a public appeal.

Five people make up the Independent Distribution Committee:

– Catherine O’Sullivan, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Pathways and partnerships, Bond University
– Brooke Denholder, City of Gold Coast
– Leisa Bourne, Director, Red Cross, Queensland
– Rob Borbidge, Former Queensland Premier
– Greg Goebel, Chairman of the Board at GIVIT

Catherine O’Sullivan is the committee chair and sole spokesperson on behalf of the committee.

The Independent Distribution Committee will distribute 100% of the funds received by the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal to those directly impacted by the tragedy at Dreamworld.

GIVIT will not charge any administration fee or other costs relating to funds received through its Gold Coast Appeal.
Red Cross is not running an appeal or collecting other funds for the tragic incident.

Dreamworld has announced it will be donating proceeds from its proposed public Memorial Day to Australian Red Cross. Ardent’s CEO will also be donating $167,500. Red Cross has confirmed 100% of these funds will be used to provide assistance to people affected.

The funds donated to Red Cross by Dreamworld / Ardent and those raised through the GIVIT Appeal will all be distributed through the Independent Distribution Committee.

For further enquiries contact GIVIT’s Media Advisor, Ash Moore on ash@givit.org.au

An Independent Appeal Distribution Committee is currently being established to manage funds received through the official Gold Coast Appeal to support the families who lost loved ones during the Dreamworld tragedy.

GIVIT, on behalf of City of Gold Coast, is collecting funds for the official Gold Coast Appeal through its website givit.org.au.

GIVIT, a national not for profit, is funded by the Queensland Government to manage donations and services in times of disaster. Therefore GIVIT has not, and will not, charge any administration fees or claim costs associated with the management of the Appeal.

How are funds being distributed?

The funds are being distributed on the advice and guidance of an Independent Appeal Distribution Committee currently being established.

This committee will be led by an independent chair, Bond University Pro Vice Chancellor, Catherine O’Sullivan, to oversee a fair, timely and effective distribution of funds. The committee will also consist of local organisations, council and experts including; City of Gold Coast, Australian Red Cross, GIVIT and other Gold Coast representatives.

100% of all funds received by GIVIT through the Appeal will be directed to support the families affected by the Dreamworld tragedy.

The committee will prioritise immediate support for the families of the four people who were tragically killed and two children injured. The committee is aware families have immediate needs and is meeting as soon as possible to work towards an initial distribution to meet those needs.

More than $101,900 has been pledged to GIVIT’s official Gold Coast Appeal, thanks largely to $100,000 pledged by 10 businesses and organisations on the Gold Coast.

Dreamworld has announced it will be donating proceeds from its proposed public Memorial Day to Australian Red Cross. Ardent Leisure’s CEO will also be donating $167,500 through the Memorial Day.

Red Cross, which is not running an appeal or collecting other funds for the tragic incident, has confirmed 100% of the funds received via Dreamworld will be used to provide assistance to people affected. These funds will be distributed through the Independent Appeal Distribution Committee with priority given to the families directly impacted.

Donations can still be made via GIVIT’s website, givit.org.au, or people can donate via any local Westpac branch in person by requesting to make a donation to ‘GIVIT’s Gold Coast Appeal’.

GIVIT is looking forward to working with the Gold Coast community to support the long term recovery of those severely impacted by this tragic event.

For more information or interviews please contact Ash Moore, GIVIT’s Media Advisor on ash@givit.org.au.

Australians wanting to assist people affected by the tragedy at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast by donating funds, are being urged to go to givit.org.au.

Working with a range of partner and government organisations, Australian charity GIVIT is managing donations to assist after this terrible incident.

GIVIT CEO, Juliette Wright, said GIVIT’s website is an easy, quick and effective way of donating directly to those in need.

“News of this tragic incident shocked everyone at GIVIT just as it shocked Australians all over the country,” Mrs Wright said. “We are working with a range of partners to manage donations following this tragedy on their behalf using our website givit.org.au.

“We know from past events Australians are incredibly generous and want to help the families who have been left devastated. GIVIT channels this generosity and lets people know exactly what is required so front line services aren’t inundated by donations they don’t need.

“After the explosion at the Serves You Right Café in Ravenshoe, GIVIT facilitated the donation of more than $800,000 in funds.

“The online platform removes the administrative and financial burden for councils and charities as well saving valuable resources for critical activities.

People can give money via GIVIT’S website of which 100% will go directly to those affected.

Mrs Wright said GIVIT has a proven record of being easy to use, efficient and most importantly effective following incidents such as this.

“GIVIT’s online platform has facilitated more than 327,000 donations and supports more than 1,200 trusted Australian charities by ensuring they have the exact items their clients need to recover.

To pledge your donation please visit givit.org.au.

For more information or interviews please contact Ash Moore, GIVIT’s Media Advisor, on ash@givit.org.au.

About two years ago, for my own mental health, I decided rather than researching causes of poverty to research ways to make a meaningful difference through GIVIT and GIVIT Kids.

I have dedicated years to this.

Then just last week, our volunteer Kirsty, sent me the latest ACOSS statistics about children living in poverty in Australia, and it shocked me to my core. On our shift, this year 2016, we are finding more and more children falling into the poverty cycle.

The ACOSS report states that now, 17.4% of all children in Australia are living in poverty, which is by the international standards, not the lucky country standards. This is an increase of two percentage points over the past 10 years, from 2004-2014.

This two percent is a massive and horrific issue.

This two percent points is nearly criminal. These children do not have the basic essentials and they are suffering. They don’t have enough food, educational or personal care items and this affects their growth and ability to thrive and strive. They lack simple things, things that surround me now as I am writing this.

My usual depression kicks in when I talk about this topic. I wish for many things to change; the cost of living, the mental and physical health, as well as the well being of a family unit, but the facts are – we have Australian children who are starving. I get so sad thinking of all the charities we work with who are not spinning in the mud, they are working so bloody hard to help these families and yet we are slipping deeply into a very dark place for our nation.

At an event last night, I sat beside a school teacher who said she frequently buys her students items. She recently bought a boy some pants, and frequently gives her own money to buy food for students. She has to feed one little girl every day because her father does not feed her.

I am now renewed in my passion to ensure every Australian school signs up and registers to receive items through GIVIT and GIVIT Kids. They are on the front-line, seeing our children every day, every week, and have their eyes on the children in most urgent need.

Please forward this blog to any teacher you know and get them to sign up. They seriously fit our criteria, and can register to receive any needed item. Our teachers, all of our teachers, now work directly with children who are impoverished, marginalised, and very vulnerable.

The donation of landing lights and a defibrillator from GIVIT has made the community of Ilkurlka, in remote south east Western Australia, safer for travellers and locals alike.

Every year for the past 29 years, Jamie Lawson and his family have taken rally participants around some of the most isolated parts of Australia in car rallies. Last year Jamie founded The Road Boss Rally, which now raises funds for GIVIT.

While at Ilkurlka Roadhouse in June this year, Jamie saw that the community needed landing lights to make night-time landings for the RFDS possible.

“Ilkurlka is so far off the beaten track that most rallies would never go there, and that means there aren’t many options available if people find themselves in a bit of strife,” said Jamie. “When we got there and heard that there were no landing lights and that meant RFDS planes couldn’t land at night, we really wanted to help out.”

“We talked it through, spoke to GIVIT’s CEO, Juliette Wright and she said that was definitely something we could help with.”

“I represent a special group of people on the Road Boss Rally and it’s great to see their efforts go to something so real and tangible as the defibrillator and landing lights.”

Manager of the Ilkurlka Community Road House Phillip Merry said it was with “stunned disbelief” that he watched the 80 cars of the Road Boss Rally roll into Ilkurlka in June.

“Ilkurlka is basically just a roadhouse which usually has a population of one or two depending on who’s there to run it or if we have a group of rangers staying overnight,” Mr Merry said.

“But quite a few people came out from the Tjuntjuntjara community to see the rally so there must have been around 250 or more people there.”

“Ilkurlka is extremely remote – about 750 kilometres west of Coober Pedy, 600km east of Laverton, WA and about 130km north of Tjuntuntjara.”

“We’re basically a refuelling and supply point with a population of whoever is at the roadhouse so to have this potentially life-saving equipment here is a real comfort.”

“Of course we hope that we never have to use it but you know what they say, ‘Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.’”

CEO and Founder of GIVIT Juliette Wright said she was thrilled that GIVIT was able to provide these items to Ilkurlka.

“It’s nice to know that anyone who lives near or happens to be travelling through that part of Western Australia is a little bit safer,” Mrs Wright said. “The Road Boss Rally led by Jamie Lawson is a fantastic group of people and GIVIT is proud to work with them.”

The 29th Road Boss Rally ran from June 10 to 25, 2016, starting in Port Macquarie on the east coast and finishing in Perth on the west taking 75 cars and 180 participants through 8000km of back roads and rugged bush tracks in very remote desert areas.

The Road Boss Rally this year raised $250,000 for GIVIT.

Residents across Queensland are being urged to get ready to help their local community as severe weather events with storm and cyclone season draw closer.

In partnership with the Queensland Government, GIVIT manages all offers of donated goods and services after severe weather events and other disasters.

GIVIT CEO and Founder Juliette Wright said through the website, local residents are able to match their generosity with genuine need by finding out exactly what is needed in impacted regions.

“When disasters occur, we will work with frontline services in the impacted region to identify their exact needs and list them online,” she said, “That’s why we are urging the local community to prepare for recovery by heading to GIVIT’s website now,” said Mrs Wright.

“We are there to support local charities, community groups and councils in their time of greatest need – when recovering from disasters.”

SES Regional Manager Mark Dole said it was important for Queensland residents to prepare for disasters.

“To get ready for storm and cyclone season, we’re asking residents to prepare an emergency plan and emergency kit,” said Mr Dole. “An emergency kit should be able to sustain you and your family for at least three days if essential services are disrupted or you have been isolated by flood water.

“Involve everyone in your household when preparing and practising your emergency plan. It’s vital everyone in your family knows what to do during a severe weather event. By taking these simple steps you can help the SES by first helping yourself.”

Mr Dole said residents should also consider how they would recover after a severe weather event, including what to do if their property or possessions are damaged.

“GIVIT do great work managing the donations of goods and services after a disaster, helping those residents who have lost everything,” he said. “This allows emergency services to focus on those residents who are vulnerable or in need of emergency assistance.”

During the 2011 Queensland floods, the GIVIT website received 1.8 million hits in 10 days and more than 33,500 goods were matched in three weeks.

This led to the establishment of a dedicated GIVIT Disaster Recovery service activated during the Bundaberg floods, Cyclone Ita, Malanda Floods, Tropical Cyclone Marcia, the South East Queensland Floods, Beenleigh House Fire and the Ravenshoe Café Explosion.

Mrs Wright said it is important that people don’t send unwanted goods or items into disaster zones.

“We know from experience that after natural disasters there is an outpouring of support from Australians, the GIVIT website is a fantastic way of channelling that support.

“This saves councils and charities both time and money when it comes to managing donations and is a free service they can sign up for.

“We would urge local charities to register at givit.org.au now and locals to think about what high quality items they have that they could potentially donate so that after a disaster strikes, communities are ready help themselves.”

GIVIT is an online not-for profit connecting those who have with those who need items, via its website givit.org.au. For more information or to arrange an interview please call Ash Moore on 0407 094 079 or QFES Media on (07) 3635 3310.

By GIVIT’s Head of Communication, Kayla:

I have no idea how to start this, I’m not even sure what I’m trying to say. But I can’t think of anything else… I can’t do anything else… until it’s been said.

This is an opinion piece, my opinion. The thoughts that have continued to swirl round and round my mind regarding our current drought appeal for Georgetown in Far North Queensland.

A few weeks ago we received an email from a local charity letting us know that slow internet speeds in the area mean some families living on remote properties are unable to meet obligations for distance education and are instead needing to drive their children long distances (two to three hours) to school.

After years of crippling drought, these added fuel costs are stretching already maxed budgets, and many families simply can’t afford it. The children can’t get to school.

We’ve since continued to hear stories about the devastating situation these families are in and the challenges they face: huge debt, starving cattle, endless despair, no income, no food, businesses they’ve worked a lifetime to build crumbling under them. And now, children who can’t receive an education.

Yesterday I received an email about one family and stared at my computer screen for minutes in disbelief – processing the horrific situation they’re enduring.

It kept playing on my mind and last night over dinner I shared these stories with my partner Lee, a third-generation cattle farmer, and he listened to me in despair. What can we do? How can we feel okay when there’s so many others who don’t? We looked outside over the green grass hills out at the fat, happy cows and saw the privileges someone else is searching so desperately for.

When I looked at him I knew that if we choose to have children one day, despite the many struggles we may face, no education won’t be one of them. I won’t have to worry about if my children can get to school. I’m not going to have to wake up and tell them that mummy and daddy just can’t afford it today, we can’t fill up the car. They can’t see their friends or teachers, hand in their assessment, attend sports day, the school excursion or learn about that subject they’re so interested in. I’m not going to have to go to sleep at night devastated because this situation is affecting their future.

I’m not going to wake up the next day and open an empty fridge, wondering how I’m going to feed my family. I’m not going to have to stress about using my underwear for fear of them becoming old and worn when I don’t have money for a replacement. I’m not going to know I can’t get my children to the doctors when they’re sick, that I won’t be able to buy sanitary items during my next period and be forced to use rags. I’m not going to watch my husband leave for work every single day knowing he can’t help us.

Now, as I sit here in an office with electricity, a flushing toilet, clean water and internet I feel devastated there are others who don’t have this. As our General Manager, Marcus, said “it breaks my heart to think I’m about to go and eat a nice lunch and someone else can’t.”

What are we going to do? How are we going to help? GIVIT is a charity for charities right? Can’t we do more? I’m angry, I’m frustrated and devastated… but I’m hopeful. I’m hopeful because I know GIVIT can help. We are their chance.

We are the national voice for these 70 families. We are the portal spreading the plights of these vulnerable people to the 23 million others Australians who can help. We are that connection.

We can’t change the internet speeds but we can give these families the chance to feel hope, kindness and connection. We can get the children to school, we can give the dad new underwear and we can provide food vouchers so mum can fill the fridge for the first time in years. We can let them know that they are not alone and someone else cares. Maybe we can even save a life.

I think about you, reading this, and wonder what you’re thinking. Is this pulling you like it does me? Is it breaking your heart? Are you driven to help? Will you?

At GIVIT we don’t often request donated funds. In fact, we try incredibly hard not to. Money is valuable – we all need our own. But right now, it’s very likely someone else needs it more than you. If you want to help please visit our website and click ‘Drought Relief’ in the dropdown box. You can even put ‘Georgetown’ in the comments. I am proud to say every single cent of that money will go straight to purchasing vouchers for locally these families.

Every time we get a Drought Relief donation the team cheers, a difference is being made. There’s a long way to go, but imagine the impact we could have if we all gave a $50 fuel voucher!!