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Christmas, and volunteering on the Lower North Shore

By Geoff Smith

Christmas for most of us is a time of giving and I know many of us like to give back to our community, whether it’s at Christmas time or throughout the year.

While donations of money or gifts are always welcome, perhaps this year we could think about turning up in person to help out some of our charities, especially those that focus on homelessness and food security.

Apart from anything else ‒ like the satisfied feeling you’ll have after putting in a solid volunteering shift ‒ you’ll get to meet others in our community.

At our office, we have our own fundraising initiative called a little Ray of Giving, which we have had in place for many years. Throughout November, we are collecting donations of toys and other gifts that are delivered to children in hospital. We hope our efforts help provide some joy to children who must spend Christmas in hospital.

Visit: https://raywhitelowernorthshore.com.au/rayofgiving

How to volunteer on Sydney’s Lower North Shore

We’re a tight-knit community and so many of us volunteer or donate already. However, if you’re looking for where your efforts – in person or with your hard-earned money – will have the most impact, we’ve put together some opportunities.

Understand that some of the high-profile charities and services get booked up quickly. However, most organisations have waiting lists you can join – you might get a call if others drop out.

Working with people

Maybe you’re flying solo these days and you can afford to give up some, if not all, of your Christmas Day. If you can spare a few hours, both the Wayside Chapel in Potts Point and the Bill Crews Foundation in Ashfield offer a Christmas party for the homeless. Bill Crews Foundation is full but you can go on to a waiting list. The Wayside Chapel is still happy to include more volunteers. And if you can’t turn up to help physically, for the Wayside, you can Donate a Plate.

Wayside Chapel, (02) 9581 9100

Bill Crews Foundation, (02) 8752 4600

WILL2LIVE – a non-profit that provides basic necessities to people living on the streets in order to help them to live a happier and healthier life – is hosting a Christmas party on 16 December starting at 6pm. You can buy a ticket for just $20, sit and talk to the homeless and be part of the volunteering crew as well as enjoying a hot meal and entertainment.

Salvation Army Christmas Lunch – Surry Hills

12:00pm – 1:30pm, 22 December 2022

Derby Lane (off Albion Street), Surry Hills NSW 2010

The Salvos haven’t specified whether or not they need volunteers but we’re pretty sure they wouldn’t turn you away if you turned up to give them a hand.

Booked up? Here are other ways to support organisations

If you’re not able to volunteer, you can still help others at Christmas.

Salvation Army Christmas Appeal

Mission Australia Christmas Appeal

OzHarvest. Donate through Woolies at the checkout to provide Christmas meals to those in need.

Year-round volunteering

Helping out isn’t just for Christmas. We’ve looked at a few other volunteer organisations locally that might inspire you to get involved.

Places | Nature conservation and outdoors

Mosman Youth Centre

If your teenager is hankering to get their hands dirty, Mosman Youth Centre on The Crescent has transformed the exterior with garden beds. The organization runs the Green Thumbs group, one of several volunteer programs that encourage high school students aged 14 to 18 to get involved in the community, develop new skills, and meet like-minded people.

Contact Chris at 9978 4277 or visit youth@mosman.nsw.gov.au

Mosman Bushcare

With around 39 hectares of remnant bushland, Mosman is blessed with good habitat for native species. However, those patches of the urban bush can quickly become weed-infested if not cared for. Mosman Council runs Bushcare to support community members in caring for their local area.

Get in touch with Mosman Bushcare at 9978 4038 or at bushcare@mosman.nsw.gov.au.

Working with animals

While you might not get to be a volunteer at a vet’s surgery, there are other ways you can help. For example, most vets need items like old towels and blankets to keep injured animals comfortable.

If wildlife is more your passion, think about training with WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organization. Get in touch on 1300 094 737.

For marine animals, get in touch with ORRCA at (02) 9415 3333.

Have a very jolly Christmas

Whatever you choose to do with your time over the festive season, we hope that you, your friends, neighbors, and loved ones stay in good spirits and enjoy some quality time together

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