Natalie Tanchevski rarely misses the chance to drop a few dollars in the tin when she sees Salvation Army volunteers collecting at shopping centres around Canberra.
The Gungahlin resident took those donations to the next step when she raised $100 for 100 families before Christmas last year. Those donations have now taken a giant leap forward.
The fundraiser was called ‘$100 for 100 families’ but has now added a couple of zeros to the name ahead of Christmas this year with the 100s for Thousands fundraiser. Her latest effort aims to raise $100,000 to be shared among 1000 families in need across Canberra, Queanbeyan, Yass, Cooma and Goulburn.
“I was raising money to purchase $100 grocery gift cards to give to struggling families who were registered for Christmas assistance. It was a big success and I ended up raising $16,500 in three weeks,” Natalie told Region Media.
“This year, given the impact of coronavirus, I decided I wanted to try to help more families and not just in my local area of Gungahlin. So I have expanded the fundraiser to help raise $100 for 1000 families. All money raised goes directly to a local Salvation Army centre and will be used to purchase grocery gift cards to give to the families in need in the lead-up to Christmas.”
The six Salvation Army centres in Canberra and four in Queanbeyan, Yass, Cooma and Goulburn will each have a goal of raising $10,000 to help 100 families in their local area.
This year’s fundraiser was launched last Sunday (1 November) and has already received more than $2000 in donations. It will run until 20 December.
Natalie said what began as a small idea quickly grew into something more than she could have imagined.
“It began when my daughter was doing some drama classes with the Salvos in Gungahlin and she saw a basket of toys at their reception desk. My three kids have too many toys so I began to collect and donate the toys they had grown out of.
“I began chatting with Dominic (Corps Officer at Gungahlin Salvation Army Captain Dominic Wallis) about how to make the donations a more positive experience and the initial fundraising idea began.
“Given the success of last year, I knew we needed to take it to the next level and the only way of expanding it was to form a team with the Salvos,” Natalie said.
The process is simple: the public donates to its local Salvos branch and these donations are turned into grocery gift cards for families registered with these centres.
“This keeps the donations in your local area,” Natalie said.
“We’ve also had help with a number of local organisations who are helping to promote it with all the Salvos stores throughout the region.
“People can also sign up to join one of the 10 Salvos centres and collect donations on their behalf, so hopefully the generosity that began here in Canberra will stretch well across the border.
“We’ve been lucky here with the coronavirus, but a lot more people are struggling this year, so I think it’s a great way linking people with their community this Christmas.”
More information is on the 100s for Thousands website, including where you can donate and track donations to each Salvation Army centre.