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Know any good Australian xmas charity gift registers?
November 11, 2010 2:29 PM   Subscribe

Know any good Australian xmas charity gift registers?

Along the lines of what ThePinkSuperhero is organising in the US, I'm hoping to find some kind of register of underprivileged kids wanting xmas presents.

Preferably, this would be a kind of register where you can buy specific gifts requested by particular kids, instead of a generic "gift tree" approach, like they have at Kmart & other places.

Anybody know any good charities that facilitate such things? I'd prefer if the charity wasn't religious, but am open to all suggestions. Something for kids of asylum seekers would be particularly nice, but again any good cause would be great.
posted by UbuRoivas to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
http://www.barnardos.org.au/barnardos/html/starofwonder.cfm

They have an online store you can select gifts from.

In their words:

"This is a secure, simple and convenient way to show your generosity and guarantees that each child no matter their age, gender or situation will receive the best matched gifts this Christmas."
posted by cwhitfcd at 3:11 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


FYI Barnados is not religious - and I suspect you will have difficulty find other non-religious charities aimed at specific kids that take a gift based approach. Many of the others - Smith Family (who are awesome as well btw), Starlight Foundations etc take a more general approach.

E.g ToyRun don't aim for specific kids, and neither do vinnies (also, they prefer money).

You can donate computers to technical aid for the disabled, which is an excellent cause.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, though Melbourne based, takes donations in kind.

More broadly though I would encourage you to, if you want, broaden your aid horizons a little further. While it feels undeniably good to donate something that you, or your children would want, and you can go through the process of picking out a specific gift and buying it and there's a real thrill when you know that something you're giving is going to directly to someone you can see a picture of, read a story of etc. - of transforming an anonymous almost business transaction, into a personal interaction - that's more about you, then it is about the worthiness of the cause you're giving to, etc.

There are plenty of charities that do amazing, worthwhile, desperately-needed work that can't or won't for good reason provide those kind of opportunities, and it's not a weakness of their programs or because they service a need that's any less. Whilst it might feel better for you to donate in that particular way, it's not necessarily a better way, and indeed sometimes it can be a way that puts a very onerous work-load on a charity - those kind of interactions are challenging to manage well and require constant supervision and involvement - and that workload could be better used elsewhere.

I apologise if you're aware of all this, I'm not trying to get all preachy here or anything, and you're certainly entitled to make donations to - and for - anything that you want. But if you feel that donations in this particular way are better for the recipient than other ways, that's not really true. Better for you, certainly, but not for the people you're donating for.

If you really want a personal connection to a child this year that could have a lasting and long-term impact on their well-being, I strongly recommend that contact the Smith Family and offer to be a supervisor in one of their learning clubs, or participate as a 1-1 online mentor through their "itrack" program for disadvantaged kids in high schools across Australia. It doesn't get more personal and involved than that.

It's a bigger (though not especially large) commitment, certainly, than a toy for christmas, but you could have an exponentially bigger difference on someone's life. It's the kind of impact that could last longer than any toy you can imagine, and the rewards of forming a close relationship with these kids who come from the most disadvantaged and difficult backgrounds are manifold for all concerned, and it's 100% secular.

Again, I apologise for the somewhat roundabout way of "answering" this question, and I do hope you don't perceive this to be a hectoring, or lecturing tone. That's not my intention at all, and I'm sure whatever you decide to do will be something very worthwhile. Just that, if what you're looking for is that kind of personal connection, there's certainly some fantastic ways available to connect that go beyond what you were asking about, for little additional committment. If you want/need more details, or just want to tell me to piss off (!) feel free to get in touch.
posted by smoke at 5:12 PM on November 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


smoke - no worries at all with any of that. My thinking is mainly that *if* I was to try & organise some kind of metafilter donation down under, it would be best if it had that kind of personalised, tangible quality to it.

Otherwise, people might as well just do their own thing & contribute personally to a generic pool of funds at any charity and let them sort the rest out* - because there's no real benefit in teaming up for a simple distributed payment model like that.

* which is what I tend to do anyway: giving & requesting gifts from those charity catalogues (a la "oh hai i got you a piglet in PNG this year...")
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:37 PM on November 11, 2010


Oh I'm such an idiot. I didn't read that pinksuperhero metatalk thread, and didn't realise you were trying to *organise* something like this. Heh heh forgive me for an answer about as useful as tits on a bull.

Hmmm, I think that's gonna be superhard to find here locally, our charities tend not to follow these kind of models, and the ones that do are generally too small to do the legwork that's required to get a donor pool involved. I'll ask around and memail you if I find something.
posted by smoke at 6:54 PM on November 11, 2010


No, it's still useful if only to find out that charities here don't follow what I'll call the "direct gift" model. That mentoring thing sounds interesting too, but that's a collateral benefit.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:12 PM on November 11, 2010


Smoke, thanks for pointing out the iTrack program. I sponsor someone through the Smith Family's Learning for Life program, and whilst I'm happy to support my student, and hope that she goes through to TAFE or Uni, I've been looking around for other things to contribute.
posted by flutable at 4:22 PM on November 12, 2010


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