SAMARITANS will officially launch its annual Christmas Appeal on Saturday to bring hope and joy to those who may otherwise not be able to celebrate the festive season.
The appeal will also focus on raising awareness about the needs of vulnerable people including the lonely, homeless and marginalised across the region.
Samaritans CEO, Peter Gardiner said the charity aimed to raise $120,000 to support families living in the shadow of disadvantage and also those without friends and family at Christmas.
“At Samaritans, we go the extra mile at Christmas time,” Mr Gardiner said.
“Children and young people represent a staggering 42 per cent of the homeless population in Australia.
“There is much more demand than people realise, right in our own backyard.
“Samaritans provides a number of services to thousands of people in need, from our Christmas Assistance Centre, to our emergency relief services, refuges and Christmas lunches in Newcastle, the Central Coast and Singleton.
“There are a lot of people who need our help and we can only deliver this with the support of the community.”
Samaritans has been named as the charity partner for the Olive Tree Christmas Market in Civic Park, Newcastle on Saturday December 3.
Market organiser Justine Gaudry said she encouraged visitors to give generously to the Olive Tree Of Hope, at the market’s Samaritans marquee.
The markets will include more than 175 stallholders, a free kids workshop, a photo booth for unique Christmas photos, food, gourmet artisan produce and live music all day.
The Civic West parking station is offering a flat rate of $6 and Newcastle City Council Mall parking station on King Street is offering a flat rate of $6.50 on the day.
To donate directly to Samaritans, call 1300 656 336 or visit samaritans.org.au/donate