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.