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The joy of giving to families in refuge

It’s the season when all around us, store windows come alive with festive tinsel and baubles, and beautifully adorned Christmas trees. But for one business in Croydon, the Christmas tree that brightened its reception area held special powers: the power to transform the Christmas of children in unfathomable situations from sadness to pure joy.

Every year since 2012, Ray White Real Estate has been running the very successful Little Ray of Giving program, when they encourage the whole community to donate toys and gifts for children and families doing it tough at Christmas.

During the month of December, staff, clients and community members have been walking through the doors of Ray White Real Estate Croydon with toys and goodies which, with the help of their charity partner Rotary Club of Maroondah, have been distributed to family violence refuge and accommodation properties run by Refuge Victoria.

It was this spirit of Christmas generosity we saw from many businesses and community groups this year. In the weeks before Christmas, Contour Consultants filled baskets full of Christmas presents and festive food donated by staff members and their friends and families, and some generous staff at Maroondah City Council directed some of their workplace giving donations to us too.

After Refuge Victoria’s acting COO Trishia Barclay visited Rider Levett Bucknall and spoke with staff about our vital work supporting our community’s most vulnerable families, the staff banded together and purchased gifts for the families, in a gesture that was truly heart-warming.

The spirit of Christmas giving came from so many sectors of the community: families, sporting organisations, small businesses, and social clubs, all united in the belief that every child deserves a safe and magical Christmas.

The Bacchus Marsh Lawn Tennis Club held a fundraiser with all donations going to Refuge Victoria; the Lions Club of Knox delivered boxes of new children’s backpacks and a financial donation; and Novo Shoes donated new handbags.

Even crafters got onboard, with BJ Quilters, Knitting for the Needy and Ringwood Clocktower Probus Craft Group donating exquisitely hand crafted items that will be cherished by the recipients for years.

For the Refuge Victoria staff receiving and distributing donations, perhaps the most touching gifts came from individual families, who despite challenging economic times, donated food and gifts to help women and children escaping family violence this Christmas.

The impact of these sometimes-small donations cannot be overstated. For women who have experienced the very worst in human behaviour, they are the gift of hope. They say to women that despite what they may have been told for sometimes many years, they are worthy of something special; that for all they have experienced, there is still love and goodness in the world.

That’s a gift that is truly priceless.

We would like to warmly thank all the businesses, organisations and families who donated to Refuge Victoria this Christmas, and wish all a safe and happy festive season.

If you would like to support the work of Refuge Victoria your donation will be warmly welcomed.

If your workplace is looking for a workplace giving charitable partner in 2023, we’d love to have a chat. Drop us a line here.

The wonderful team at Rider Levett Bucknall with Refuge Victoria’s Janet Jukes and Trishia Barclay