Overflowing: Firefighers Peter Egan, Morgan Mitchell and Gerard Mann with the dozens of presents donated by Ballarat City Fire Brigade. Picture: Amber Wilson
BALLARAT firefighters have proven they have skills not in just protecting the community from fires, but in championing community spirit.
Professional firefighters from the Ballarat City Fire Stationhave donated almost 50 presents to the 3BA Christmas Appeal, ensuring more families in need will have a happy Christmas.
The firefighters have also hand-wrapped the lion’s share of the presents, giving an extra bit of Christmas oomph to their efforts.
Organiser Gerard Mann said the firefighters backed several fundraising initiatives each year including Movember,Ocsober
“We get into these because we’re community-minded people. Any charity initiative we start up at the station always gets a good response,” he said.
“We’re lucky enough to help the community in aprofessional sense so we enjoy doing that in our personal lives as well.”
Donated money, food andgiftscollected through the appeal will be distributed between Anglicare, The Salvation Army,St Vincent de Paul and Uniting Way, which will then distribute it to Ballarat people in need.
Anglicare manager Geoff Ryan said the need was greater than ever with risingunemployment and increasingly unaffordable cost ofhousing by people on welfare payments.
“It’s the state of the economy. With 18,000 people in Ballarat living below the poverty line, they’re doing it tough,” he said.
3BA Christmas Appeal director Peter Caligari said 2015 was shaping up to the biggest year ever in the appeal’s 36-year history, but lamented the growing numbers of people doing it tough.
“It just gets worse every year. The demand continues to escalate…with families who are so desperate they they’ve got no alternative but to seek welfare relief.
“This year’s toys, food and cash will be at record levels. Donations just continue to roll in the whole time. We could not be more delighted with the response from the Ballarat community.”
The appeal has a goal of raisingmore than $160,000 in cash donations. Anyone wishing to donate food, cash or toys is welcome to leave them atthe 3BA office, 56 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, until Christmas Day.
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