Wednesday 30 November 2016
The festive spirit shines through on the coast at Christmas. Coast Shelter is a not-for-profit charity which has been working to make a difference for the most vulnerable people in our community for more than 20 years. Their refuges, located across the Central Coast, provide homes and support for young people, men, women and families in crisis. At their Coast Community Centre in Gosford, Laurie, Shane, Charles and the team serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to almost 150 people each day in their restaurant. Shower and laundry facilities are available daily. Free legal advice from the Central Coast Community Legal Centre is provided on site. They give swags, sleeping bags and blankets to people sleeping rough and help provide for essentials such as medicines, food and fuel. This year, locals have donated close to $1 million to Coast Shelter, yet many people in need are still turned away. My office in Tuggerah is a collection point for Coast Shelter's Christmas appeal, and, for those who can, I encourage you to give generously. Donations of non-perishable food, clothing and children's toys will be given to those staying at Coast Shelter's refuges over Christmas.
The Samaritans will once again host their Christmas Lunch on the Coast, a community celebration at the Wyong Racecourse for those who are alone or in need on Christmas Day. The lunch will receive plenty of festive food, fun and entertainment, with Santa making a special visit with his bag full of presents. To help the Samaritans help others, look out for their stalls at local shopping centres. Let them wrap your Christmas gifts and help support their giving tree.
I look forward to joining the Toukley Neighbourhood Centre's Christmas feast on 16 December. Locals can help by donating items for their Christmas hampers and children's gifts. The Wyong Neighbourhood Centre is also seeking donations of non-perishable food and new toys for children as part of their annual appeal, and will be providing empty baskets to workplaces and businesses across the coast to be filled with donations. Of course, for those looking to give back to our community at Christmas, perhaps the greatest gift of all is timeyour time. Volunteering Central Coast links people who care with people who need their help, and has been linking volunteers on the coast to those in need for 30 years. This is a comprehensive network of volunteer organisations and they would love to help you help others this Christmas.
To those who give so much to those who need it most: thank you. To those on the Central Coast who are so generous of spirit and so kind-hearted, it has been such a pleasure to begin to represent you. I know how much our community cares, how generous we are and how at Christmas, which is a very tough time for many people, we give so much to those in need. Thank you and Merry Christmas.