Magnetic Island North Queensland
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A young koala's beach adventure

December 3rd 2008
Giving trees across the bay for Islanders doing it tough

Sunferries Ali Angus with Rev Renton This year it is likely that some Island families will be finding Christmas a particularly difficult time. When expectations rise and people have lost savings or even their jobs, Christmas cheer can be hard to find. That's why an idea by Islander, Sue Mackay, who manages the Nelly Bay Harbour terminal, to organise a Christmas Giving Tree, to make that big day a bit easier for locals doing it tough, is such a terrific idea.

Sue had sought the permission of Queensland Transport to allow a small corner of the terminal to set aside for the Giving Tree and they agreed.

The Reverend Alan Renton, who convenes the Island's Ecumenical Committee (Catholic, Anglican, Community & Uniting Churches, working together) thought it was a great idea too. He mentioned the tree at his church recently and a parishioner, Sunferries' Manager, Darin McDonald, decided to double the effort at the other end - at the Breakwater Terminal in Townsville.

The two trees are dedicated specifically to take donations of Christmas Day items for Magnetic Island families who may be struggling to afford a good Christmas celebration.

Items being sought for the hampers include Christmas puddings and cakes, tins of fruit, tins of ham or turkey, lollies, bon-bons, tins of shortbread, fruit pies, glazed fruit, decorations, etc and presents (wrapped and marked on outside with age and sex of intended recipient). These can be left in receptacles in the Terminals.

Sunferries is also providing free travel for the 12 brass band members to travel to Magnetic Island next Thursday evening to perform at Carols By Candlelight at Alma Bay on Thursday 11 December at 7pm.

Reverend Renton told Magnetic Times, "I'd like to thank Queensland Transport and Sue Mackay for something for Islanders who could do with a hand on Christmas Day.

"Sunferries have been really generous with their time and with the tree at the Breakwater and for donating the tickets for the band to come over and play at the Carols.

"At Carols by Candlelight we raise money for poor Cambodian farmers to have mines cleared from their fields so they can grow food but the Giving Trees are a great initiative to help Magnetic Island people."

The Christmas hampers will be delivered by volunteers in the week before Christmas to those Magnetic Island people who would like a hand to make their Christmas day special.

Reverend Renton said, "They (the hampers) will only be offered to people who ring up Jill or Peter 47581389 and ask for them. Every effort will be made to keep requests confidential. If anyone rings up on behalf of another person they must first have received that person's consent.

"This year, where the world's financial system has gone crazy, it isn't possible for others to know for whom a little help at Christmas will make a difference. Therefore please don't let pride stop anyone applying."

The giving trees will operate from December 1st to the 19th.

Picture: Sunferries are presenting 12 return tickets for the Carols' band visit. Sunferries' Sales & Reservations Officer Ali Angus with Reverend Renton at the Christmas Giving Tree at Nelly Bay.

To add your comment,
or read those of others, see below

Giving trees across the bay for Islanders doing it tough
December 4th 2008
Fab idea! well done Sue...
December 11th 2008
I'm sure all of us know of families who will be having a pretty poor Christmas this year, and pensioners who, despite the Government handout, may be facing a bleak time, too. If you know anyone in this category, please give us a ring so we can add them to our list.
And for those of us who are, happily, still doing all right - giving is the part of Christmas that can make us feel happy: now's your chance to give! But please - curb the desire to give soft toys, if you can. After all, children under three really don't understand about Christmas; it's older children who really notice when they get very little and their mates get heaps. We especially need presents for girls in their early teens at the moment. Also little gifts for Mum and Dad, or for older persons.

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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