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How to Help Others This Christmas

26 November 2021

Christmas is often a time for families to come together and celebrate with tables laden with festive food and gifts piled under the Christmas tree. Unfortunately, this is not always with case, with some people experiencing increased financial stress, family challenges and loneliness. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures show that in October last year, 38% of Australians experienced personal stressors due to COVID-19 including relationship difficulties, loneliness, job loss and financial stress. This year, Christmas may be difficult for some West Australians who are feeling anxious about the vaccine mandate and potential job loss, in addition to border restrictions keeping loved ones separated. More widely, over 116, 000 Australians will be without a home this Christmas.

With many locals experiencing hardship this season, Lifeline WA bereavement counsellor Naomi Weir encourages anyone wanting to offer assistance to reach out. “People may know of someone struggling this Christmas but might not know how to help, or be cautious of offending,” Naomi explains. “But the most beautiful thing anyone can do is to include someone.” Naomi offers suggestions of small things people can do to help others less fortunate this Christmas:

  • Invite someone over for a craft or cooking day so that they can make Christmas gifts and not have to buy them.
  • If you are close with a family who may be struggling, ask the children what they would like to give their family for Christmas and help them arrange a gift to give.
  • Include people who may not be with family this year in your own Christmas celebrations.

Naomi encourages people to break down the barriers and make it easy for someone to accept invitations of help. “It can be easier to say no, and some people might really appreciate an offer but feel self-conscious accepting help.” Naomi suggests small offerings and advises against grand gestures that may feel overwhelming. “People may shy away from joining Christmas lunch empty handed. It is important to emphasise that we don’t need more food or presents, and to encourage them to just bring themselves.” Naomi adds: “Alternatively, invite them over a little bit earlier to help with the set-up so they can still feel they are contributing.” Christmas can be a hard time for people, but Naomi explains that sometimes a distraction from sadness, even just for the day, can alleviate the stressors that can come with this time of year. “We all just want to be seen, and valued and included, and if someone can offer that, that is the best gift anyone can give.”

If you are aware of someone who may be in need of food or company this Christmas, but aren’t able to include them in your own celebrations, you can direct them to any of the below events where they can share a Christmas meal or activity and be included in the community:

  

Event

Date

Time

Location

Details

Sunflower Vegetarian Cafe

Open through Dec

3pm -9pm

489 Beaufort St, Highgate

Free dinner for those in need. No registration required

Sikh Gurdwara Perth

Open through Dec

Wed + Fri 11am-12pm

Sun 9:30am-1:30pm

10 Cheltenham St, Bennett Springs

Free hot lunch for those in need. No registration required.

City of Gosnells Seniors Wellbeing Catch-up

Dec 6

10:30am

Thornlie Public Library

For Seniors aged 65+, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders aged 55+, and their carers. Register here or call 9251 8750

Homelessness We Care Christmas Café

Dec 14

6pm

Wellington Square, East Perth

No registration required

St Pat’s Community Christmas Lunch

Dec 16

10:30am

Fremantle Town Hall

For those in the St Pat’s catchment area, please register at St Patrick’s Community Support Centre

City of Melville Christmas Sing-Along and morning tea

Dec 17

10am

Willagee Community Centre

Register here

Seeds of Hope Christmas Dinner

Dec 20

4:30pm

Moore Street (Behind Royal Perth Hospital)

No registration required

Chakra Christmas Dinner

Dec 24

4pm

841 Beaufort St, Inglewood

No registration required

Mission Australia Christmas Lunch in the Park

Dec 25

10am

Wellington Square, East Perth

Please collect wristband to attend from the nearest community support agency during December

Salvos Christmas Day Luncheon

Dec 25

12pm

48 Dumond St, Bentley

Please register by Monday Dec 20 on 0487 001 086

Joondalup Christmas Lunch

Dec 25

11:30am

Central Park Joondalup

Register here

Subiaco Community Christmas Lunch

Dec 25

12pm

The Third Place, 325 Barker Road, Subiaco

Register by Saturday Dec 18 here or 9388 1030

 

If you or anyone you know are finding the Christmas season difficult, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14, available 24/7.