More than 4000 families seek assistance through 3BA Christmas Appeal

MORE than 4000 Ballarat and district families sought help through the 2013 3BA Christmas Appeal.

The long-running appeal raised more than $250,000 with a combination of cash donations and further donations of toys, food items, clothing and other Christmas gifts. 

Uniting Care deputy director Sue Adam said the number of families seeking help had increased. 

“I think because we have had a rise in those essential utilities, that is always going to have a bigger impact,” she said. 

“There is less money for gifts at Christmas for children.”

Anglicare Victoria co-ordinator Pauline Prebble said she was still receiving calls until Christmas Eve to try to help families in need. 

“Had the appeal not been around, the families would have gone without. That is the reality,” she said. 

“Ballarat is quite unique in the fact that people take ownership of what is happening in their neighbourhood. 

“So all the appeals are successful because Ballarat people see it as something they are involved in. It is not something that is happening down the road. 

“In Melbourne, my colleagues get quite jealous because they can’t achieve what we achieve here, because Ballarat look after their own and that is the unique and wonderful thing.” 

The Salvation Army’s Captain Dean Sutton said the community, in particular businesses, had donated strongly at Christmas.

“It is huge. It is just making a difference in people’s lives,” he said. 

“We would certainly like to thank the community, whether it is people or businesses. What they did is incredibly generous.” 

The appeal is led by Peter Caligari who gives his time to run the initiative. 

“His passion and his drive – without Peter it just wouldn’t be what it is,” Mr Sutton said. 

“If we could give him knighthood we would.”

St Vincent de Paul Society regional president Bernie Holloway said Mr Caligari’s wife also deserved a lot of credit for the work she did. 

Mr Holloway said his organisation had spread the donations to towns further out from Ballarat, including Ballan and Daylesford.