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Charity links provide appeal

GETTING together at Christmas has taken on a new meaning for the Western Power Charity Link Christmas Appeal, now in its fifth year of operation. Charity Link is a collaborative charity that coordinates winter and Christmas appeals on behalf of 109 charities located throughout the state. “We have membership guidelines where they approach us about whether they become a member,” Charity Link manager Maureen Mawson said. “When they become a member they basically forgo having their own Christmas or winter appeal. “We want us to approach the public or sponsors, rather than 109 charities working out there.” Ms Mawson said the collaborative nature of the work allowed for a more efficient and effective process. “Lotterywest covers all of our administration costs through providing us with a grant every year,” she said. “When we receive those donations or corporate sponsor-ships, 100 per cent can go towards buying food in bulk or buying toys, which are then provided to the member agencies and they distribute them to the clients.” Ms Mawson said the charities co-ordinated under Charity Link maintained listings of their clients. “They send a listing to us and we cross-check all the lists so we make sure there is no double dipping,” she said. “Last year there was only 1.8 per cent of that happening and this year its 0.5 per cent.” The Department of Conservation and Land Management has been involved with Charity Link since 2001, and with its predecessor, Lifeline, before that. CALM customer service officer Judy Kenwood said the organisation was supporting a WA single father and his five daughters this year. “Everybody gets involved,” she said. “Either in giving money to buy presents or buying presents themselves, and we also provide a food hamper. “This year and last year we had a single supporting father and his children and we don’t normally know that much about them. Privacy issues means we can’t do much, so we ask what they would like and their counsellor gave us a couple of ideas.” Ms Mawson said CALM approached the agency with the wish to support a family. “These families would normally receive our standard hamper and gifts that we would provide,” she said. “But instead [through CALM] they get this mega hamper and we let them know that they were selected to be the recipients of this special initiative.” Ms Kenwood said CALM specifically asked to assist a single father this year. “It makes you feel that you have done some good when they come to pick up the stuff,” she said. Charity Link’s members include Father Brian’s Crisis Care, ASSeTT (Association for services to Torture & Trauma Survivors), Blue Sky Community Group, Lew Life Welfare, Starick Services (Women’s Refuge), and Dads@Lifeline. Donations can be made at any ANZ branch and volunteers are needed to assist with packing hampers, data entry or gift wrapping. For more information telephone 9261 4430 or go to www.charitylink.org.au

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