Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

The dilemma of what to do with unwanted Christmas gifts – valued at more than $750 million last year – has been solved with the launch of an Australian first Christmas Gift Amnesty to help people donate unwanted gifts to those in need.

Rather than risking the embarrassment of “regifting”, the guilt of selling goods or the frustration of storing them in valuable cupboard space, people can donate their gifts to the St Vincent de Paul Society, dropping them off at Harbour Town Shopping Centres on the Gold Coast and in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth from Monday 26 December.

“Three quarters of a billion dollars in unwanted Christmas gifts were exchanged last year and while many people would have loved to have put them to good use, many would have been unsure how to go about it,” Dominic Lagana, State President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in SA says.

“The Harbour Town Christmas Gift Amnesty is a win for everyone, solving a festive season dilemma and helping people in our communities who need assistance the most.”

The Amnesty will run until Sunday 22 January with goods collected by St Vincent de Paul either given to people directly or sold through their stores to raise funds for valuable programs in area such as Homelessness, Mental Health and Youth. All appropriate items, excluding electrical items and used goods, will be accepted.

St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers will help approximately 520,000 people this Christmas and the Society will spend $17.3 million helping people those in need over the festive season.

The St Vincent de Paul Society helps many thousands of people through Home Visits, Migrant and Refugee Assistance, Vinnies Centres, Accommodation for the Homeless, Overseas Partnership Development, School and Youth Programs, Soup Vans, Social Justice Advocacy and Mental Health Programs.

Harbour Town National Marketing and Tourism Manager Angela Gore said Harbour Town was delighted to help the St Vincent de Paul Society carry out its important work.

“It might be another pair of socks that will end up in the back of your drawer, a homeware item that isn’t your style, a toy that isn’t age appropriate or a T-shirt that doesn’t quite fit. Whatever the unwanted gift*, by bringing it into Harbour Town you can get it off your hands and into the hands of someone in need,” Ms Gore said.

“And if you’re not sure what a person wants for Christmas, the safest option is a Harbour Town Gift Card which gives people the flexibility to buy what they want.”

Unwanted Christmas gifts can be dropped off at designated Christmas Gift Amnesty collection areas located inside Harbour Town VIP lounges in Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and on the Gold Coast from Monday 26 December until Sunday 22 January. Visit www.harbourtown.com.au for locations and more information.

For those looking to donate second-hand items, the nearest Vinnies drop off point can be found at www.vinnies.org.au

*Electrical items cannot be collected due to safety regulations.

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