26 Jun Help Nathanial Make Christmas Brighter For Gold Coast’s Homeless
Nathanial Leigh is just sixteen, but for the past few years he has spent the bulk of his spare time running a not-for-profit organisation that puts on a free community Christmas lunch for homeless and disadvantaged people in the southern Gold Coast area. To help cover the shortfall between local business donations and the event’s costs, Nathanial is appealing to the community to help crowd fund running costs for 2014’s event –– and Soul Arch Media are helping him spread the word.
The event has been held each December 24th since 2012, and last year around 100 people were in attendance at the Kirra Sports Club. “We don’t just provide food, we make it a fun filled day with lots of Christmas cheer. For example we have entertainment, Santa arrives, and there is even a fire truck for kids. We provide a great Christmas celebration for those who attend,” Nathanial said.
The event is completely run by volunteers like Nathanial, and has been made possible in years gone past by generous in-kind donations from local businesses. However gaining financial sponsors for the event has been a challenge – understandably few businesses seem to be targeting sponsor advertising to the homeless market.
To raise much-needed funds this year, Nathanial is trying new avenues. Soul Arch Media are assisting by filming a video (see above) that Nathanial can use to approach sponsors, plus setting up a crowd funding page to raise awareness online. Nathanial will also be staging a Family Fun Day Sunday August 24, 2014 at Tally Vally Indoor Sports with all proceeds from both activities going towards the Christmas lunch.
Nathanial also hopes his crowd funding campaign will bring attention to the issues behind the luncheon’s existence. “I believe most people aren’t aware of how isolating Christmas can be for many in the community. For example did you realise that every night more than 3,000 Gold Coast people are sleeping rough, staying with friends or relatives, or relying on support services for a bed on any given night?”
“Homelessness isn’t just when you’re ‘sleeping on the streets.’ You can be considered homeless or at risk of being homeless if you’re sleeping in a car, in a refuge, staying at a mate’s place or any other kind of arrangement that precludes you from having a stable roof over your head. However, our lunch also remembers that there are many people who are lonely and isolated from the community, and we welcome them to attend too. These people may be elderly or have lost their partners or loved ones; we have many veterans and people who move to the Gold Coast who do not have family or friends here. We just want to get the word out there if you don’t have somewhere to be at Christmas, you can have a place with us.” Nathanial said.
Nathaniel uses local community service providers and homeless shelters to issue information about the lunch to those who may like to attend, and these service providers then book seats for the luncheon via phone or the event’s website. Members of the general community who are displaced and would like to attend are welcome to use the website’s booking facility too.
To ensure this year’s event goes ahead as planned, Nathanial is aiming to gain financial support of $1000. Any funds raised above this modest amount will go towards the purchase of much needed office equipment and supplies for volunteers, and create a backup fund to support the Christmas luncheon in years to come.
With community support, Nathanial hopes to be able to make sure 2014’s luncheon is better than ever.