For many, Christmas is a time of celebration, yet it weighs heavily on the minds of those unable to provide for their families due to hardship.
This year, Criterion Conferences opted out of Secret Santa to instead donate gifts to families who otherwise might not receive any. Criterion partnered with Salvation Army and arranged an office gift drive- not for a colleague, but for a child in need.
“Despite Christmas being one of the happiest times of the year, it can be a stressful time for families in need,” said Deanna Notice, Marketing Director and Gift Drive Coordinator.
“Each year, thousands of children will go without a single Christmas gift and so this Christmas, instead of a traditional Secret Santa, we wanted to give back to the community. The Salvation Army gift drive was the perfect opportunity, as we would be helping Australians less fortunate in our own community.”
The statistics are sobering: more than 2 million Australians will feel socially isolated during the festive season and one in six Australian children and youth are growing up in poverty.
Australia will cumulatively spend nearly $11 billion gifts for friends and family, with an average expenditure of $573 per person.
When you factor in other expenses (such as good and travel) the average rises to $1350 per person – a national expenditure of $25 billion.
Criterion’s Christmas tree was skirted with bluetooth speakers, board games, books, toys, and many more goodies ready to be distributed to struggling families.
Rather than wrapping the gifts, staff were asked to donate paper to give parents the chance to wrap a present for their child.
“Christmas can be an isolating time for parents who cannot afford to buy a present for their children,” Deanna said. “We know that this initiative will directly impact a number of parents and children this Christmas. With a single gift, we have been able to make Christmas brighter for families in need.”
Criterion is continually driven by the purpose, bringing people together to inspire change, and are delighted to be able to make this Christmas a happy one some families.
“Our company purpose is to ‘bring people together to inspire change’, and the Salvation Army gift drive has allowed us to do just that. Employees came together to purchase gifts for someone in need and we know that this initiative will bring a change to several people this Christmas.”
If you would like to host your own food or gift drive or make your own donation, head to the Salvation Army website here.