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The season of togetherness has been more important than ever this year.

We can all acknowledge that it’s been ‘a year’ – whatever adjective you choose to describe it… I’ll leave it to your discretion, but I am sure there’d be plenty of colourful replies. With everything the world has collectively been through, we’ve been faced with enormous challenges to overcome, and we’ve done it together. As difficult as this year has been, there has also been enormous opportunity for the best of humanity to rise. And we have, as neighbourhoods, communities, towns, cities and nations. We have concentrated on what really matters and focussed our attention on being there for each other and getting through these trying times together – as we should in the Season of Togetherness!

This spirit of togetherness is the same spirit we aim to achieve during the Christmas Season.

As we’ve been practicing it all year long, we should be in fine form this festive season – the season of togetherness, inclusivity and love.

Regardless of your personal beliefs, the Christmas Season has always been a reminder to draw closer and spend time with your loved ones and be kinder to neighbours and strangers. It has also been a reminder to support the vulnerable within the community who may be isolated, ill or without those connections that are so important to a person’s wellbeing.

According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, humans need the following:

Like a pyramid, every human needs a solid foundation, which are the basics of human survival – your physiological and safety needs. Every single person needs to feel secure, loved, have a sense of belonging and the basics covered; food, water, shelter, etc.

When you think about it – most of us already have so much.

But there are people within our communities who don’t have these needs met.

According to the Red Cross, “If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep… then you are richer than 75 percent of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace… then you are among the top eight per cent of the world’s wealthy.”

Wow, what humbling statistics.

Sharing the Burden 

This year, there is more need and therefore a greater need for us to reach out to those who are having trouble accessing the basics to give whatever we can to make a difference. This could be in the form of money, food or time. There are amazing organisations in our community who provide wonderful services to those in need, including The Salvation Army and UnitingCare. If you need their help this year, please reach out. Everyone experiences hardship, and our opportunity as fellow-humans is to support those who need it during those times. We can share the burden in order to lessen the burden – aka practicing humanity.

As a child, my family was on the receiving end of an act of kindness by my mother’s boss, who, during a financially difficult time for my parents, provided a laundry basket full of the essentials for Christmas dinner, including a turkey. They also bought gifts for

each of us kids, so we had a gift to open on Christmas Morning. I never knew their generosity until I was an adult. But these two beautiful humans blessed us with the magic of Christmas that day and ensured my struggling parents were able to give ‘Christmas’ to us. What a powerful and beautiful gift, one I am so grateful for. Similarly, every person has so much power to bless other’s lives. You never know the difference your act of kindness will make to someone this year.

May you have a truly beautiful ‘Season of Togetherness’, full of hope, love and humanity.

Some Great Ways to Give

The Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal

The annual Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Appeal raises funds to buy food hampers for local families and older members of our community who need a helping hand to help make their Christmas festive. In these unprecedented COVID-19 times your support is needed more than ever for the vulnerable in our community. Your generous contribution will help to spread some Christmas joy to those in our community who need it the most this year. Every donation over $2 is tax deductible. Find out more and make a donation at:

Donate to The Salvation Army Christmas Appeal

Your donation means they can offer shelter to people with nowhere to sleep, gifts for kids who would otherwise get none, hampers for people struggling to afford basic meals, and support for those struck by disaster.

Purchase a gift for the Kmart Wishing Tree

You could also support any of the wonderful local not-for-profit organisations and charities who make a difference in your community like Mission Australia, The Smith Family, the RSPCA, Yaps, The Agile Project or other local group – doing it for the animals.

Volunteer

At a local shelter, aged-care facility or community organisation. Spending time with those who feel isolated and providing much-needed human connection is so powerful. Everyone deserves to feel loved and remembered during the festive season.