• intouch magazine | #07 | dec - jan 16

1000 Baskets of Hope for Newcastle Families

Christmas 2015 will be a much brighter one for quite a few families in Newcastle when a newly formed not-for-profit group delivers baskets of food and gifts to them. Newcastle Basket Brigade Coordinator Michelle Lee, has been working tirelessly with her dedicated team of brigade members to reach a massive goal this year.

“My team of volunteers has been amazing,” said Michelle. “Last year, 4 weeks before Christmas, I made the decision to rekindle an NFP that previously operated in Newcastle 10 years ago,” she said.

“I had been made aware of a heart-warming cause where needy families would receive a surprise basket for Christmas.”

Michelle said that the best part of giving the baskets was that it was done anonymously – the recipient would be told that it was from someone who cares and that it was hoped that one day they would be able to do similar for someone else.

In 2014, inthe space of 3 weeks, a team of 35 people (half of whom wereunder the age of 18) managed to put together 106 baskets,which were delivered 4 days before Christmas.“My team members and I felt absolute joy experiencing thesmiles, tears, shock and gratitude on people’s faces when theyreceived their basket,” Michelle said.

“It was enough to give methe inspiration to do it again and in a bigger way. Much bigger.This year our goal is to deliver a massive 1000 baskets. We areaiming for the stars and hey if we reach the moon, now thatwould be awesome!”

Michelle said that what is most needed now are:• Sponsor/s who can help out financially• Volunteers to deliver neighbourhood flyers and pick updonations• Volunteers for Wrapping Days at the Wallsend MasonicHall (Sundays December 6 and 13)

Michelle said that the recipients are sourced from variouswalks of life. They may be suffering from financial hardship,lonely elderly, foster children, physically or mentally unwell,victims of abuse, the homeless, struggling refugees or othersdoing it tough.“We are collaborating with a few other major NFPs too this year,which is also exciting as these partnerships will enable us towork together and help one another,” said Michelle.

Michelle Lee is a Transformational Youth Coach who has livedin Newcastle for 4 years. She has a vision of mentoring youngpeople aged 14-25 to lead the Brigade, as she knows that theywant to contribute and can make a huge positive impact ontheir communities.If you would like to help out then contact Michelle and getinvolved in a fun and engaging cause, where volunteers can beinvolved in the whole process from beginning to end.

More information about the Newcastle Basket Brigadeis available from www.magicmoments.org.au or www.facebook.com/NewcastleBasketBrigade, you can also email Michelle directly at newcastlebasketbrigade@magicmoments.org.au.

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