PHIL Cutcliffe has one simple Christmas wish: to offer struggling families in his community the gift of a happy Christmas.
And as the director of Westside Community Care (WCC) in Springfield, his organisation is helping make that wish come true.
Through its Christmas voucher appeal, WCC has been helping support struggling families for the past 15 years.
The initiative works with local retailers to provide food vouchers to the value of $50 for families doing it tough during the festive period and into the new year.
Around 350 sets of locally purchased or donated vouchers were distributed to local families in 2011
"There are a lot of people caught up in their own crisis," Pastor Cutcliffe said.
"It might be the death of a family member, job loss or a marriage break-up.
"So a lot of people are very appreciative to be able to get something for nothing."
Springfield father-of-three, Robert Alesana said he had occasionally taken advantage of the voucher appeal during tough times.
Currently unemployed, the 31-year-old said the vouchers had come in handy in purchasing necessities such as fuel and groceries.
"Particularly around Christmas time, it can get really difficult looking after a family with three kids," he said.
"Having the support of the local community and businesses though projects like this is really helpful."
Due to the economic climate and growth in the area, Pastor Cutcliffe said the number of families requiring this form of assistance had increased.
"So we are setting our goal to be able to help at least 400 families this year," he said.
"But to achieve that, we really need the support of local businesses and residents in the form of goods, services or cash donations."
Among the businesses donating to the cause each year is the IGA supermarket in Springfield Lakes.
Store owner Terry Slaughter said he had no hesitation in being involved in such a worthwhile initiative and encouraged other local businesses to get involved.
"Being a part of the community, I love to support local projects like this," he said.
"And we don't do it for any recognition - we do it because it's the right thing to do."
For more information contact Westside Community Care on 3818 2915.
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