Tree of Joy lights up lives of needy folk

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SHOWING love to those without close family at Christmas time is what the Tree of Joy at Vincent Park is all about.

Rotary Clubs from across the city have gathered together Christmas gift requests from orphanages, places of safety, disadvantaged people and the elderly and stuck them on a tree near the info desk at Vincent Park.

Shoppers are encouraged to take a card and buy the requested gift for the beneficiary and put it into the trolley, safely in the hands of Rotarian volunteers.

SPIRIT OF GIVING: Rotarians Eugene McNamara, Roger Williams and Gordon Thompson stand in front of the Tree of Joy at Vincent Park and display some of the many gifts that have been donated by kind members of the public Picture: SARAH KINGON

Gift requests include basic toiletries, toys, clothes and sweet treats and shoppers have the choice of whom they would like to assist with a gift.

“We are dealing with people who are really struggling and don’t have close family members to help them out,” Tree of Joy co-ordinator, Gavin Ferreira, said.

“This project sends a signal to these people that the community does care and is prepared to help. This is not an isolated project but a continuation of the many initiatives that Rotary is involved with throughout the year.”

Wishes from 1650 people have been pinned on the tree to be fulfilled before December 19.

“We are about halfway through fulfilling the requests at the moment. The people in East London are absolutely great and we have no trouble assisting all the people each year,” Ferreira said.

“If we come to December 19 and some of the wishes have not yet been fulfilled, Rotary Clubs will buy the items so that nobody goes without.”

Rotarians will deliver the gifts to the various locations in time for Christmas, bringing smiles to the faces of the less fortunate this holiday season.

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