Christmas wishes for more than 170 local children and young people have been placed on Christmas trees at Veritas House offices in Orange and Bathurst and the local charity is calling on Orange residents to help bring some Christmas cheer to these special young people.

Veritas has set up Christmas Giving Trees again this year at their offices at 29 Sale Street, Orange, and 106 Russell Street, Bathurst, and with more Christmas wishes to fulfil than ever before, they are calling on local residents to embrace the spirit of giving and purchase a gift for a child or young person who is living in Foster Care or who is at risk or experiencing homelessness. Each tree has on display gift tags that contain the Christmas wishlist for each child, and local residents simply select a tag and bring it back over the next few weeks with their wrapped or unwrapped gift.

Veritas House CEO, Jody Pearce acknowledged that with the drought, bushfires and so many other worthy charities appealing for assistance at the current time, it may be tougher than ever to achieve their goal of providing a gift to every one of the children and young people Veritas supports.

“The number of kids Veritas is supporting to either move from the Out-of-Home Care system and into independent living, or who are living with Foster Carers, is currently at its highest level for our agency,” said, Jody. “Added to that, the Christmas period is also one of our busiest at our youth refuges in Orange and Bathurst; so we are hopeful the local community will get behind our Christmas Appeal again this year.

“Last year we also had a number of parents bring their children in to select a tag and purchase a gift, so they could learn the importance of giving gifts, not simply receiving. We also had a number of businesses in the region replace their office Kris Kringle with buying gifts for our clients, which was a huge contribution towards filling our tree and providing gifts to all of the children in our care.”

More than 90 local children and young people ranging in age from newborns to 18 will spend this Christmas in Foster Care through Veritas and the local agency is hopeful the support of the community will help bring some Christmas cheer to these special children in particular.

“Children and young people enter into foster care for a myriad of reasons, but generally they have experienced a degree of trauma, neglect and abuse that required intervention and removal for their own safety and well-being,” explained, Jody. “Veritas House Foster Carers in Bathurst and Orange provide a secure, safe and supportive home environment to these children and young people, but there is no doubt that Christmas can still be a tough time.

“We are hoping local residents and businesses will assist us to bring some joy into the lives of these special children this Christmas by placing a gift under one of our two trees, so that we can make our annual Christmas Party on December 7 a special day the children and our carers will truly remember,” she said.

In addition to the trees at Veritas, Moodie’s Pharmacy in Howick Street, Bathurst will also have tags on their Christmas tree in-store, and will provide customers with a 10% discount off the retail price for any items purchased to use as gifts for Veritas clients.