The GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal’s Independent Distribution Committee has released a second round of funds in time for Christmas.

The appeal has raised more than $400,000 with Dreamworld pledging a further $157,225 from the proceeds of its “Open Doors, Open Hearts” weekend to Red Cross, which will also be distributed by the independent committee.

The committee will once again prioritise the needs of the families who lost loved ones in the tragedy at Dreamworld.

Chair of the GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal’s Independent Distribution Committee, Catherine O’Sullivan, said this Christmas would be especially tough on those families.

“Everyone on the committee feels nothing but sympathy for the families of those who lost their lives in the incident at Dreamworld in October,” said Ms O’Sullivan. “The committee acted quickly to release a portion of the funds to meet their immediate and emergent needs in the weeks following the tragedy.

“We know that those needs will continue and that Christmas will be a particularly difficult time of year for those who have lost loved ones.

“This second release will mean that nearly all of the funds received to date have been distributed with more funds on the way from the reopening weekend.”

CEO and Founder of GIVIT, Juliette Wright, said there is still time for people to make a donation before the appeal draws to a close.

“I want to thank everyone who got behind this appeal and in particular the business community on the Gold Coast,” Mrs Wright said. “Our hearts go out to the families of those who lost their lives at Dreamworld.”

“To have raised so much money in such a short space of time and with more funds on the way as a result of Dreamworld’s reopening weekend is extraordinary.

“100% of the funds received by this appeal will be directed to those who need it most via the Independent Distribution Committee established last month.

“If anyone else would like to donate please go to givit.org.au or walk into any Westpac branch and ask to donate to “GIVIT’s Gold Coast Appeal.”

The GIVIT Gold Coast Appeal is expected to close on December 21 2016 with a final distribution of funds in January 2017.

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

At GIVIT we are really driven and motivated by each time a donation is connected – that moment when we match someone’s generosity with genuine need. In January we decided to harness this motivation and create a target… something to aim towards.

We thought it should be a big hairy audacious goal of matching 1,000,000 donations, and supporting (for free) 3000 charities by 2018.

We have had so many donations go through GIVIT’s website, but we also do so, so, so much behind the scenes to manage large corporate donations. For instance, 30 pallets of items were donated by Target this year and we’ve matched every single one.

Wonderfully, we have now facilitated 333,333 donations and have just hit the third way mark in our goal. We are one-third of the way to 1 million donations, and one-third of the way to our goal of changing 1 million lives of vulnerable, marginalised and impoverished Australians!

We also currently support 1280 charities!

To be a third of the way towards our goal is so wonderful. I believe Australians are most generous people in the world. Thank you to everyone who has ever given through GIVIT.

Also, I think as a team this is such a great accomplishment. Every person who volunteers and works at GIVIT is just so focused on achieving our goal – and we are ON OUR WAY!!!!!!! What a rewarding way to end another great year!!!!!

Juliette x

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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.

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