Tree of joy gives hope

Daryn Wood and Lasheigh Lucas
THOSE who would otherwise not be receiving presents this year, will have a little joy under their tree thanks to the Rotary Club’s Tree of Joy.
Less than 300 cards are available on the Rotary Club’s Tree of Joy that will once again bring a smile to those who would not normally have a merry Christmas.
The project, run by the Rotary Club, brings Christmas to individuals who are under the care or support of various local charities.
One of the organisations to benefit from the Tree of Joy is Kleinskool Outreach. “We consist of 40 children from poor areas. The tree of joy really helps our organisation in both a caring and financial way. We have been working with the Rotary Club and Tree of Joy for the past six years. The children from the Kleinskool Outreach are always happy to receive gifts and I feel that it allows for them to have a sense of belonging and also feel that they are loved and cared for,” said Trevor Saunders.
More than 3000 gifts will be collected for 60 charities this year.
The individual beneficiaries vary in age from small children to the elderly. The charities support a broad range of social, medical and educational needs, and are selected by the Rotary clubs, who will then work with the charities to create a list of individuals who will receive gifts, Rotary Club of PE West president Angela Newton said.
“This year we are really trying to include charities where this will probably be the only gift these people receive at Christmas.”
Newton said due to the economy, the reality is that they struggle to find gifts for individuals between the ages of 12 and 60, as people always prioritise the elderly and younger children.
Their “forgotten” group still amounts to 940 individuals.
“A very good example of the people you may find in this group, includes those who have had head and spinal injuries who previously led completely normal and productive lives.
“They are requesting simple items such as roll-on deodorants, cold drinks, chocolates and snacks for Christmas as they are very often abandoned by their families who find this situation extremely difficult to cope with,” Newton said. The tree itself stands opposite the Food Court of Greenacres Shopping Centre and will be there until December 21 for the public to contribute.
The public can take a gift card off the tree that has the recipient’s name and age on it and what they would like to have for Christmas.
The giver then buys a suitable gift to the value of about R100 to R150, wraps it and returns it to the tree to be handed over to the relevant organisation. The table will be manned on weekdays from 10am to 6pm, Saturdays from 10am to 6pm and Sundays from 10am to 2pm.

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