James Dawes, 12, is spreading Christmas cheer to the needy

PHILANTHROPIST: James Dawes wants to make Christmas special for Ballarat's homeless and needy. He has gathered enough toiletries and luxuries to pack about 50 Hampers for the Homeless. Picture: Lachlan Bence
PHILANTHROPIST: James Dawes wants to make Christmas special for Ballarat's homeless and needy. He has gathered enough toiletries and luxuries to pack about 50 Hampers for the Homeless. Picture: Lachlan Bence

“Everyone can make a difference if they try.”

That’s the message from James Dawes, 12, who is putting his words in to action and helping to make Christmas brighter for Ballarat’s homeless and needy residents.

James has collected a mountain of donated toiletries and other little luxuries that he will pack in to about 50 hampers and deliver to Ballarat Soup Bus to distribute on Christmas Day.

“It’s a really nice gift and really important because it makes the homeless feel included in Christmas and feel part of society,” the Haddon boy said.

With the support of his school, Ballarat Grammar, James has collected goods including shampoo and conditioner, body wash, lotions, perfume, sewing kits, toothpaste and toothbrush, soaps and other small items ready to pack in to small bags which he has named Hampers for the Homeless.

“I started this last year after I went on family trips to Melbourne and saw these people on the street. I really felt for them so I came back and thought what could I do to help them that’s not too complex but will be a great gift for Christmas, and came up with Hampers for the Homeless.”

Last year James packed 21 hampers, and his goal for this year is at least 50 hampers. He has lofty goals for Christmas 2018 when he’d like to be able to pack 100.

“I’ve had generous support from Grammar families who have donated lots of stuff which I’m going to be able to put in the hampers.”

In addition to collecting donations, James has raised money via his gofundme page and other fundraising which will go towards buying the hamper bags and other additions to the gift packs.

James’ proud mum Emma Dawes said her son’s actions were helping other children realise they could make a difference.

“We found a lot of kids last year gave donations of goods and the feedback from parents was it made the children feel really empowered. Many items were bought with pocket money … and kids felt if they could do this they could make a difference,” Ms Dawes said.

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James said children, and adults too, needed to realise that their actions can help others.

“Go out and try to make some time, or make a donation. Use some spare time, a couple of hours on a weekend, to go and do some charity work or support a charitable cause because it’s worth it and it’s helping the community,” James said.

“It makes me happy.

“Everyone has the potential to change the world if they try.”

Anyone wanting to donate goods for the hampers can call Emma on 0402 945 069. Cash donations can be made via James’ gofundme page.