Josie’s Ginger bread biscuits

There’s a reason that this lovely young lady is wearing a Wonder Woman T-Shirt!

Josephine contacted us via our website to ask if she can bake Christmas treats for our clients staying in our crisis accommodation, and our reply was “YES”. Early this morning Josephine started to bake and delivered them the same day so our clients could eat them fresh!

Josephine said:
“I believe that everybody should be able to celebrate Christmas, no matter the situation they may be in. I have baked some Christmas treats for the women and children needing support from SAHSSI so that enjoyment, happiness and Christmas cheer can still be shared and to make Christmas day a happy one”.

This definitely put a smile on everyone’s faces, so beautifully iced, beautifully presented on a Christmas tray and super cute.

Josephine also played Santa and donated baskets filled with beautiful presents for us to give to our women.

Thank you so much Josephine, our new Community Angel.

St Patricks Church Berry

We would like to send a special thank you to the wonderful ladies of St Patrick Church Berry

They have been collecting gifts all year for women and men who are experiencing homelessness. Yesterday the ladies meet at the church to gift wrap hundreds of gifts with beautiful handmade Christmas cards with written messages for people who are in need. SAHSSI received 120 of these gifts that will go to our clients in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.

Gianna and Anita from SAHSSI meet with the ladies yesterday in Berry and were blown away by their passion and generosity.

The ladies of Kiama Bowling Club

Today SAHSSI visited Barbara from the Kiama Bowling Club to pick up Christmas donations for our young clients. The quality and selection of the gifts for children are excellent, this group of ladies at the Kiama Bowling Club definitely knows how to shop for fun presents!.

When Barbara was asked what it meant to give at Christmas time she responded: ” They’d like the children to have a special Christmas and have fun, everyone needs to have some fun, especially the kids “. Ladies, I know the kids will enjoy the gifts.

SAHSSI sincerely thanks the ladies of the Kiama Bowling Club. We let the clients know who our donations are from and this definitely makes a positive difference in the lives of the women and children. It is warming to know that the community cares.

On the way back SAHSSI visited Tracey our angel at Angels Hair at Kiama to say a quick hello. As always, Tracey is busy with collecting donations from the Kiama community who always support us throughout the year. Tracey presented SAHSSI with a $150.00 Woolworths gift voucher from the Boomerang Bags Kiama, who are passionate about reducing single-use plastics, reusing unwanted fabrics and recycling our resources.

The ladies at Kiama Boomerang bags submitted a grant for us to help with purchasing food for Christmas, even though we appreciate non-perishable food, we love vouchers, this means we can shop for fresh food!

We are thrilled and excited Kiama, thank you.

Peoplecare helping people

The wonderful staff from Peoplecare Wollongong visited our head office to donate cash and gifts for teens to SAHSSI this Christmas. With this cash, we will purchase gift vouchers so our clients can shop for something special for themselves.

When we asked Peoplecare staff what it means to donate this Christmas, Danica (Human Resource Specialist), said,
“It’s important to help people in need especially for people experiencing domestic violence”

Peoplecare have a strong commitment to the meaning of White Ribbon and are fantastic with supporting organisations that help people going through homelessness and domestic violence.

Peoplecare will be volunteering their time at the Wollongong Central Charity Gift Wrap Bar, where donations go to supporting our clients.

We welcome the support and embrace partnerships with organisations like Peoplecare who support organisations that provide support to people who need a little extra help during tough times.

Edmund Rice Supports SAHSSI this Christmas!

This week Edmund Rice College contacted SAHSSI to let us know that they are donating $500.00 to support clients this Christmas. So on Wednesday, we were more than happy to attend their end of year assembly so we can present a certificate to the school and acknowledge the donation to us.

At the assembly, the speakers of the school said that by contributing to their communities it helps to shape boys into young men who are able to upstand for social justice.

Edmund Rice College has always supported and advocated against gender-based violence and it is reassuring to see boys who are positive role models.

This year the boys raised over $70,000 through their Christian learning program and have volunteered over 2,500 hours of community service.

100% of donations go directly to our clients and the $500.00 will be spent to purchase gift certificates so our clients can go shopping and spoil themselves.

Thank you for your continuing support of SAHSSI.

We are extremely proud of the support we receive from our local schools.

Nourish and Nest

We are so lucky to have Nourish and Nest support us this Christmas. We just received 5 beautifully presented gifts for women.

I cannot tell you what is inside the bags, that would spoil the surprise, but what I can tell you is that they are filled with high-quality items that will make anyone smile.

Tara owner of Nourish and Nest said: “The Nourish and Nest team wanted to donate these gift packs as we really believe in the work that SAHSSI do and hope we can, even in our very small way, help their clients feel valued”.

Five very lucky women will be very happy with the stunning gift that has fresh native flowers on top.

Thank you so much, Tara

Bearded Villains NSW donations

On Friday we had the pleasure of meeting the Bearded Villains NSW and what a fantastic group of men they are!
They delivered boxes of high-quality nappies, food, toys, vouchers and wrapping paper, to help our clients through Christmas.
These guys can shop!

The Bearded Villians have approximately 45 guys involved throughout NSW and the ACT and are a small part of a Worldwide Brotherhood at are dedicated to:
The Beard ~ Charity ~ Family ~ Respect ~ Loyalty

Their Mission Statement
“To unite Bearded Men of all cultures, races, creed, and sexuality in a Brotherhood devoted to Loyalty, Honour and Respect toward all people, Dedicated to the betterment of mankind through fraternity, charity, and kindness”

We sincerely thank the BVNSW for reaching out to us and getting to know SAHSSI, for us, they are bearded angels and we hope this is a start to a great partnership.

Thank you Beared Villians NSW for supporting homeless women and children this Christmas.

ACSO Transition to Work supports our teen clients!

Each year we struggle a little with gifts to give to our clients aged 15-17, so this year ASCO had a great idea to arrange a Bunnings Shellharbour that raised over $900.00 to purchase Christmas presents for teens that are experiencing homelessness and going through some tough times.

SAHSSI Staff, Gianna, Vicki, and work placement student Vanessa met with the amazing and inspiring team of young people at ASCO on Friday. SAHSSI were presented with very thoughtful items that they personally picked to be handed to our young clients.

We are so grateful that the transition to work participants had chosen SAHSSI as their choice of charity for their Christmas fundraiser.

You have definitely helped SAHSSI this Christmas, our young clients will know that we live in a caring community and it’s with these acts of kindness that make the Christmas period a better time for all.

Warilla High Giving Tree

As the year starts to wrap up, we are reminded of the difficult circumstances faced by parts of our community during this holiday season.

The SRC has organised the WHS Giving Tree to donate to SAHSSI this year. WHS collected donations for women and children experiencing homelessness and domestic violence.

Well Done Warilla High School! The tree looks great and the gifts underneath look like much needed items for our clients. We are so excited to be supported by our local schools, our future.

Rosie the Community Angel

Rosie, a SAHSSI community angel visited us this afternoon at the refuge with loads of donations and gifts for our clients and WOW are we feeling grateful and thankful.

Rosie delivered bags of really good quality food, new kitchenware, small appliances and much more. In addition to the donations, Rosie had a Christmas gift for each of our clients at one of our refuges. Check out the pics, I love the pink bag!

Rosie said she chooses to donate locally, especially to women who need the support and we sincerely thank Rosie for choosing SAHSSI. Rosie also donated her time at the Christmas Gift Wrap bar on the 24 December!

We feel the love of the community spirit of giving and helping people when they are experiencing homelessness, domestic violence and financial hardship.

You have made a huge difference in the lives of many women Rosie, well done and thank you!

Paul Scully MP Book Drive

This year Paul received almost 1000 books donated to the Kids Book Drive – it’s the third year that Paul has run the book drive, and they’ve been able to stretch it to five local schools this year for children in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2.

As well as this, Paul was happy to also be able to make a donation of books to SAHSSI for the Christmas hampers.

SAHSSI asked Paul about his motivation behind the book drive, his response was perfect!

“Reading is a chance for kids to be inquisitive, to learn and enhance their creativity. It is a skill for life that we should all encourage from the earliest age.

I used to get a book every year for Christmas and it encouraged my love of reading.

I hope that my book drive and the book donations help encourage enjoyment of reading in others because it opens up a world of opportunities which no one should miss out on”.

Paul is a valued supporter of SAHSSI and we appreciate his time and understanding of homelessness and domestic violence in the Illawarra. This year joined us for our Wuthering Heights fundraiser in Wollongong Mall and participated in the Illawarra White Ribbon Walk organised by the Illawarra Committee Against Domestic Violence in which SAHSSI is a representative of.

Thank You, Paul. The books are great!

Ryan Park 8th Annual Toy Drive

18 December was the big day that Ryan Park for Keira delivered the toys from his 8th Annual Toy Drive and it was so exciting!

The toys donated to the toy drive were new and fun and Ryan made sure that our teens were looked after as well.

Ryan’s toy drive filled two rooms. Our efficient team of staff and their families were busy most of the day organising the toys and gifts for women for our case managers to deliver to their clients across the Illawarra. It is a big day on the SAHSSI calendar, its non-stop!

Chelsea was our youngest team member who helped us with the sorting of toys, when her mum told her where she was going, she wanted to donate one of her toys to a child in need. Thanks Chelsea!

We sincerely thank Ryan Park M.P, his team and the community for their generosity; we really cannot do it without you all!

Ryan also supports SAHSSI throughout the year in many different ways and we will not forget his efforts when he participated in the Wollongong Central Stair Climb challenge, a SAHSSI fundraiser held each year in October.

From all the staff and clients of SAHSSI, we thank you for always being there for us!

Shoalhaven Community Support for Christmas

This morning Shoalhaven Greens Mayor Amanda Findley, accompanied by Shoalhaven City Council staff , drove a car full of donations to our Shoalhaven Services.

Shoalhaven City has been collecting donations of non-perishable food items and toys for the past month. Council received generous gifts across multiple collection sites with items including; baby formula, Christmas cakes, tin food and multiple free family passes were donated from Shoalhaven Swim, Sport and Fitness.

Thank you so much for the donations, community support in means so much to us.

SAHSSI’s Little Angel

SAHSSI had the privilege of meeting the adorable and very caring (and aptly named) Angel.

Angel told her mum that she wanted to donate gifts for the children of SAHSSI and even some of her own toys and furniture this year at Christmas.

When the Manager, Shoalhaven arrived at Angel’s house she was soooo excited to provide us with her generous gifts.

On behalf of SAHSSI, thank you Angel and her lovely mum Abbie.

SAHSSI in the Shoalhaven

Our Shoalhaven service was so fortunate in the days leading up to Christmas, with donations from HMAS Albatross Fleet Air Arm, St Lukes Church Berry, and St Mark’s Anglican Church, Sussex Inlet, which helped to contribute to a fantastic Christmas Party for our women and children last week.

We also received a surprise visit from the SCIPA School of Dance in Bomaderry. The group collected toys and gifts from students and families and the donations were delivered to the SAHSSI team at Nowra on Friday at our Christmas Party.

Thanks Shoalhaven, we appreciate this your support that made this Christmas fantastic!

Centrelink Wollongong Team

Hooray for the Centrelink Wollongong team who donated gifts for women this Christmas.

We had the pleasure of meeting Shannon and Christine who presented the items to us. Thanks to the Centrelink staff who donated to us, our clients appreciate the support.

Helensburgh Lions club and Tradies Helensburgh

Each year Gina from the Helensburgh Lions Club places a beautiful Christmas tree up at the Tradies Helensburgh for the community to donate gifts and yesterday we picked up the donations. We were so impressed with the gifts, thank you so much Helensburgh, great job!

SAHSSI covers the Helensburgh to Ulladulla areas and we appreciate the 10 year plus support you have given us, we are very grateful.

It is nice to know that when you wish for something it comes true and we want to share this story with you.

Among the wonderful donations at the Tradies Helensburgh club giving tree there was a new girl’s bike and Alesha was the lucky one.

Jessica (Alesha’s mum) has two children and moved from Victoria due to domestic violence. This Christmas was financially tough for Jessica who struggled to make ends meet.

Jessica’s budget did not allow for new toys so she managed to find a free rusty old bike to surprise Alesha for Christmas.
When our case manager delivered the new bike, Jessica could not believe it, she was overjoyed and extremely grateful. Jessica said that her youngest daughter would be able to benefit from the bike when she is old enough.

Jessica was so happy that she surprised her daughter the day before Christmas. There were lots of BIG smiles, Jessica said that Alesha cannot stop riding the bike!

Thanks Helensburgh Lions Club and the community, these are wonderful memories for us all .

We would love to add a beautiful picture of Alesha on her bike but unfortunately, we are unable to due to privacy associated with DV. Thank you to the wonderful person who donated this bike we hope you get this post of happiness.

The Kiama Community

Our good friend Robyn at Curves Kiama has once again led a food, gift and toy drive for the clients and children at our Crisis Accommodation at Warilla.

Robyn, Curves staff and their members have been supporting SAHSSI for many years and for this SAHSSI staff and clients are extremely grateful.

Thank you for also thinking of our women who often do not receive many gifts. Your generosity will most certainly put a smile on our client’s faces at Christmas time.

Tracey from the very aptly named Angels Hair at Kiama, has supported SAHSSI for several years now, and also helps us throughout the year with home starter packs for women moving into their new homes after experiencing homelessness.

Christmas can be a difficult time for women and children staying in crisis accommodation, Tracey knows this and understands our needs as an organisation to make Christmas as memorable as possible.

This year, our Kiama Angel Tracey inspired her clients and the Kiama Community to donate to SAHSSI for Christmas and they did great!

This year we have gifts for all our homeless women and we can purchase fresh food for their Christmas lunch with the cash donation.

We sincerely thank the wonderful Kiama community for the beautiful gifts of pamper packs, perfumes and other goodies. This has really made a big difference for us all.

Our Community Angels!

Community Members Gift cards and Vouchers for Christmas

This Christmas SAHSSI received money, gift cards and gift vouchers for our clients. With the money we could purchase a total of 50 gift cards and we would also like to acknowledge a beautiful generous family who donated 5 x Early Start Discovery Space vouchers valued at $80.00, 6 x $80.00 vouchers to spend anywhere and 6 x $70.00 hairdresser vouchers. The family sent a very special personal message to our clients wishing them a very beautiful Christmas and understanding of their current situation. The message sent hope, love, and strength for the future.

Thank you to all who have donated such caring generous gifts this Christmas, the vouchers are fantastic for our clients, it means so much to us here at SAHSSI.

In total, we supported 628 women and children across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven and we definitely felt the community love this Christmas.

SAHSSI Christmas supporters – Businesses and Schools

We had some cute students from Wollongong Public School (KB Class) who donated food for our clients.

Leanne from IRG Medical Imaging donated a basket full of food and toiletries. Leanne and the staff at IRG are ongoing supporters of SAHSSI and said, “We think it’s important to give to those in need this time of year”.

Kim from Fernwood Fitness Woonona organised the donations of gifts for our clients. A member of the gym who is a survivor of DV donated approx: $1000 worth of candles from Party Lite. We also received a box of goodies from the Body Shop, through Fernwood.

Jade from Warilla High School – Official dropped off a variety of items such as towels, food, gifts for women, toys and blankets from their giving tree. Warilla High also organised the winter sleep out at the school to raise money for SAHSSI. Jade said, “We think it’s important as it raises awareness throughout the school for anyone in need”.

Jade said, she heard students talking about what SAHSSI had done for some of the students that were past clients of ours and so this started the conversation.

Thanks to all, great to see the community getting together to make this a special time to remember.

IACC and ECTARC Christmas donations

A big thank you to the IACC – early childhood education, care and training and ECTARC for their very generous donation of gifts and cash for our clients this Christmas. We thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the staff who were more than happy to take a group picture and help us load the items into the car.

SAHSSI also had the pleasure of meeting the staff Jess, Alicia and Alysha and some beautiful young children at the Keiraview Child Care Centre. Thank you so much for the food, we have distributed the items to our refuges and our clients love it!.

Thank you so much, IACC

Out of the Blue Singers – Christmas Donation

The beautiful women from the Out of the Blue Singers donate to SAHSSI on a regular basis, they are passionate about supporting Women and children in need.

This Christmas they have generously donated vouchers to give to clients staying in our emergency accommodation. These vouchers go a long way to support the women and children in our emergency accommodation who are doing it tough this Christmas.

From the bottom of our hearts we would like to Thank the Out of the Blue Singers for their ongoing support and generosity.

Fundraiser for Christmas

The Festive Pamper and Fundraiser was held last night at the Hargrave Café and what a great evening it was!

We enjoyed a mini hand massage with beautiful Body Shop products, Champagne, a delicious mini crazing table and wonderful company. We had chats about domestic violence and what the community can do to help. Special thanks to Nicole from Nourish Glow & Shine with Nic for a great, fun evening and supporting SAHSSI.

We love reaching out to the community and providing information on what the community can do to help people who are homeless or experiencing domestic violence.

A special thank you to our Christmas supporters.

Throughout this Christmas period, we posted on Facebook the donations we received that individually acknowledges the support from the Illawarra and Shoalhaven communities, as well as our new friends the Bearded Villains NSW located in the Sydney area.

For both communities we had the big task of helping Santa for 265 women and 363 children, a total of 628 and together we did it!

All the donations were distributed to our clients by our case managers. Due to the donations we received, we were able to keep a few things aside for the women and children who may be referred to us for emergency support and accommodation on Christmas day or Boxing Day and Birthdays throughout the year.

When we receive referrals to our service, our clients arrive with very little and the children do not have their suitcases filled with toys and other comforts of home so we value the beautiful donations we receive for Christmas and throughout the year.

It was overwhelmingly wonderful to see the generosity of the community that wanted to make a difference in the lives of our homeless women and children; we could not do it without you.

Below is a picture of Debbie, one of our case managers. Each year Debbie dresses as a beautiful Christmas angel when delivering the gifts to our clients.

THANK YOU from SAHSSI

StreetSmart Australia Grant

We all know that homelessness and living on a Newstart allowance is VERY difficult, but with organisations like StreetSmart Australia we can offer a little extra assistance.

A huge thank you to StreetSmart Australia who are always there to help our Homeless Australians. The grant we will be receiving will make life easier for women who are on Newstart allowance; the money will be spent on vouchers for home stater packs so our clients can shop for what they need. It is nice to receive new items!

THANKS STREETSMART AUSTRALIA!

Lake Illawarra HEaRD Women’s Group

In October, we blogged the news that Lake Illawarra High School HEaRD Womens Group of year 9 girls were organising donations for SAHSSI. On Friday, the teachers delivered boxes of much needed new items of personal hygiene necessities, cleaning products, homewares, Linen, bathroom items, food and the list goes on!

The teachers that delivered the items to us on Friday informed us that today was their graduation presentation party so we invited ourselves and crashed the party!

SAHSSI Staff, Jess and Dhaku presented certificates to the girls and let them know how appreciative we are and how this helps homeless women and children. SAHSSI is so proud of them and the teachers who are so supportive.

We love working with our local schools in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. It is so important for our young people to understand homelessness and how we can work together as a community to help people in need.

Australian Unity

Thanks goes out to Australian Unity for the donations we received today. It’s such as pleasure having Melissa and Janet visit us. As you can see from the picture, we had a laugh, some Christmas cheer goes a long way!
Thank you for the donations we will distribute them to our locations.

Donation

Putu’s Passion A Domestic Violence Journey

Jeni, who lives locally travels to Bali often and has become friends with an inspirational survivor of DV, Putu.

A part of Putu’s recovery is sewing and she has hand-sewed hundreds of bags that she sells to support herself and children. Putu also has dreams for Bali to have No Plastic and is creating these bags for the Balinese and tourists.

Putu and Jeni have kindly donated some of Putu’s handmade bags with love to our refuge.

If you would like to read more about Putu’s DV story please see her FB page Putu’s Passion

Thank you, Jeni and Putu

Wollongong Central Gift Wrapping Service for SAHSSI

After some hard-core Christmas gift shopping, you could have your present’s gift wrapped at Wollongong Central. This year Wollongong CentralPeoplecare, volunteers from Wollongong City Council the wonderful services of Volunteering Illawarra have teamed up to make this a season one to remember!

All the gift-wrapping was by gold coin donation and wrapped by volunteers. The money raised was donated to SAHSSI who support women with or without children who are homeless, at risk of homelessness and/or experiencing domestic violence.

The gift-wrapping bar is located on level 1 near Glass Alley and Chatterbox Market.

SAHSSI raised just over $3130.00.

Thank you shoppers your donations are appreciated and this will be spent on our clients.