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Spreading the Christmas cheer

The Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal has been administered by Cairns Regional Council since 1996 with the sole purpose to provide needy and vulnerable families and seniors with basic food items for Christmas day.

The Appeal previously provided 700 hampers, but 2020 is so far shaping up to look like more hampers will be required, setting a lofty fundraising target of $100,000. Raising this amount of funds is challenging in a normal climate regardless of the additional challenges COVID-19 has brought to the region’s economy and livelihoods.

Losing many of the usual streams of income and donations Council has reconsidered how funds can be raised.  The Mayor’s Charity Golf Day earmarked as a fundraiser was cancelled, like many others.

The mantra of “locals helping locals” has never rung truer than now seeing increased support and generosity coming from some members of the Cairns business community:

The Cairns Business Women’s Club have kindly offered their support at their September networking luncheon selling raffle tickets with prizes supplied by local businesses.

The Cairns Chamber of Commerce have selected the Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal as the chosen charity for their Christmas luncheon.

FGF Bitumen utilised their corporate event at the recent Cairns Cup day as an opportunity to raise over seven hundred dollars for the Appeal. 

The Reef Hotel Casino are collecting donations
on behalf of the Appeal and even local schools are contacting Council on how they would like to raise money with activities at their school.

Thankfully the Cairns media community have also rallied to show support for the Appeal in an unprecedented way donating $110,000 worth of media in-kind.

Media partners are ADhesive, Ad2Go, The Cairns Post, City Life magazine, Connect Cairns, Go Transit, Hit 103.5, Oasis magazine, Pakmag, Triple M, Cairns Calendar and Cre8 Design.

Other media supporters include 7 News, 4CA, WIN network, Star FM, Lotsa Print and Signage, and Channel 9

Council engages with over 20 agencies who look after families and seniors who need support, including the Benevolent Society, Ruth’s Women’s Shelter, Uniting Care, Wuchopperen and Anglicare Homeless Shelter. These agencies then work with their clients to create a list of hamper recipients. The packing of the hampers is a large logistical exercise requiring many tireless volunteers from the Rotary Club of Cairns who facilitate this. The NAVY will also step in for the first time to deliver hampers to the agencies who give to their clients in time for Christmas.

5-star chefs for charity dinner

Thanks to the imagination and generosity of the Cairns hotel community the 5-Star Chefs for Charity dinner was born. The Hilton, Pullman International, Shangri-La and Pullman Reef Hotel Casino have come together with their head chefs donating their time, expertise and working with their suppliers to provide all food and beverages at no cost. This means every cent of the dinner ticket sales will go directly to the Cheer Appeal. This year’s dinner will be hosted by the Hilton, with the hotels taking hosting turns in coming years.

To reassure people that every cent of their donation is going to charity and giving the genuine feeling of making a difference the website is set up so that people can donate $35 for a hamper for a senior, or $65 for a hamper for a family (or their own nominated amount).

The general community are going above and beyond, and even though not every household is operating on a full income, people are still finding it in their hearts to share with those less fortunate. This year those doing it tough are in need of help more than ever. Please give generously at  www.cairns.qld.gov.au/christmas as every cent of every donation goes to purchasing food for the hampers, and little bit helps.

Connect cairns.qld.gov.au/christmas

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