Santa is adding a special star in the Redlands with STAR’s Secret Santa appeal this year.
The appeal is to alleviate a feeling of isolation and loneliness among some older Redland people who may not see family and friends during Christmas.
Chief executive of STAR Community Services, Patsy Wilshire, said people aged over 65 were the loneliest people in Australia.
“Many live alone, isolated not only from their loved ones but also from the wider community,” she said.
She said STAR’s Secret Santa Appeal was launched by STAR in 2019 as a part of its ongoing commitment to fight this growing problem of social isolation.
“Since then, the annual appeal acts as a vehicle for the entire community to get involved and contribute gifts and donations, which are then packaged into hampers and delivered by volunteers to seniors in our local community in Redlands and the bay islands, who are at risk of loneliness.
“The problem of loneliness among the seniors may be huge to tackle at once, but meaningful acts of kindness can help us all move in the right direction.
“By contributing gifts and donations, whether small or large, we can help brighten the spirits of those who are at risk of isolation and ensure that no one feels left out during this special time of year.
“Together, we can create a warm and inclusive Christmas for all.”
Last year more than 2500 gifts and 6200 food and personal items were donated by hundreds of individuals and organisation through the Secret Santa appeal.
These items were packaged into 761 hampers and presented to seniors who were on their own at Christmas.
This year’s appeal is supported by 12 local businesses and three Redland library sites which act as collection points.
The Rotary Club of Cleveland and Bay View, Hilliard and Wellington Point State school will also collect gifts.
Hampers are being created by volunteers at Bunnings, Dominos head office payroll team and Grill’d Victoria Point and 60 local volunteers.
“Last year, 88-year-old Sarah received her first Christmas gift in six years,” Patsy said.
“She has outlived her family, is isolated from her friends and except for her amazing carers from STAR, she is on her own.
“Sadly, her story is common with too many of our elderly feeling the loneliness of being on their own during the holidays.”
Anyone able to give a gift can leave them at local drop off areas. Check these on starcommunityservices.org.au.