Coast Shelter gears up for Christmas

Coast Shelter Interim CEO, Jennifer Eddy, at the Santa Shelter

Coast Shelter will be accepting donations up until December 24 for its annual Christmas appeal.

Interim CEO, Jennifer Eddy, said many donations have already started to roll in.

“The generosity of the community is absolutely amazing,” Eddy said.

“We have been very lucky this year as Worthington Prestige Cars just down the road from Coast Shelter have gifted us their premises for our Santa Shelter.

“We have set up the showroom where people can come and donate gifts.”

Eddy said COVID-19 has had a far-reaching impact on the community, particularly on the vulnerable.

“We are seeing people for the first time for no fault of their own, who have found themselves homelessness or risk of homelessness, not being able to meet general living costs,” she said.

“We have heard there has been an increase in domestic violence and mental health (problems), but our shelters are very full.

“Despite this, we never closed down.”

Eddy said Coast Shelter kept always its doors open as it could not turn anyway away.

“Each year we accommodate over 800 men, women, youth and children in our crisis centres, and provide over 50,000 hot meals in the community centre,” she said.

“Because of COVID, we had to close our restaurant and just serve takeaway meals.

“This is sad as it does prevent social interaction that people enjoy, and it is also important for people’s mental health.

“But with the easing of restrictions, we are hoping to get the restaurant back up and running by Christmas.

“We will have people here on Christmas Eve serving Christmas meals hopefully from our restaurant for people who are homeless.

“We will also be handing out hampers and gifts to families who are in need for a little bit of a top-up.”

Marked boxes have been set up at Erina Fair for non-perishable donations, and at Tuggerah Westfield for new toys for children and youth.

Coast Shelter is encouraging corporates, schools, and community groups to register their Christmas tree and join 78 other groups which are already participating in the campaign.

Jacinta Counihan