Spreading joy and hope this Christmas: Donate to our Christmas Appeal

Tupou and her grandson
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Tupou and her grandson, Gabriel, outside their home in Tonga. Photo: Nicole Chehine/Caritas Australia

The spirit of Christmas giving takes many forms and one popular option for Australian families is responding to Christmas Appeals and supporting those in need.

For Catholics, Christmas is a season of celebration, rejoicing in the gift of Jesus Christ to the world and following his teachings of kindness, generosity, and love.

Caritas Australia’s Christmas Appeal is a way to spread joy and love to those in need this holiday season. We unite as a community to ensure Caritas Australia's partners can continue changing lives and spreading joy in the year ahead.

Help Tupou and her Tongan community face the future with confidence

On 15 January 2022, Tupou and her family were eagerly awaiting the birth of her grandson. Living near the Tongan coast, they were aware that the Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai volcano had been active since the month before, but they were completely unprepared for what came next.

Tupou experienced an unparalleled force of nature that day. Its enormity hit them with cannon-like booms and monumental waves. Quickly, they sought refuge on higher ground, crammed into an inadequately equipped chapel along with other families.

When they returned home, Tupou’s house was full of debris and sea water. “The tsunami was up to my son’s shoulder,” Tupou said, “and he is 6 foot tall.”

In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, their community desperately needed food, water purifying tablets, blankets, and other essential supplies. Caritas Australia worked with Caritas Tonga to provide these critical supplies to Tupou’s community. It meant that she and her family were able to protect themselves from disease as they recovered.

Our support for Tupou’s community extended beyond material recovery. We understand trauma's deep impact on rebuilding. Our counselling support helped Tupou and many others deal with the trauma, grief and fear and prepare emotionally for future disasters.

Tupou in front of a destroyed home in Tonga. Photo: Nicole Chehine/Caritas Australia
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Tupou in front of a destroyed home in Tonga. Photo: Nicole Chehine/Caritas Australia
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60-year-old Tupou lives in Tonga with her husband, son, daughter, son-in-law and grandson near the beach and experienced the trauma of the Tonga volcanic eruption. Photo: Caritas Tonga

Anxiety builds up in different ways. Physically, our energies were so drained by just thinking about how to clean this up.

Tupou

More than a year after the eruption, support from Caritas Tonga, through your generous donations, continues to help Tupou and her community. “I now feel better prepared mentally, physically and spiritually,” she says.

This Christmas, the Tongan community urgently needs an evacuation centre, so another disaster won't force them into an inadequately equipped space. Caritas Tonga is working with the community to provide a safe retreat for up to 500 people, as well as a supplies warehouse that will benefit the most vulnerable communities.

None of this is possible without the donations and generosity of our supporters.

“I want to thank the people of Australia for all their support in so many different ways,” Tupou says. “We know you’ve been taking care of Tonga in many little ways and many big ways. Thank you and Merry Christmas and we wish you all the best and continue to connect as brothers and sisters in Christ.” 

Embrace the spirit of the season with a donation to our Christmas Appeal

Caritas Australia’s Christmas Appeal is a meaningful way to extend the blessings and goodwill of the season through a donation that will change lives and spread joy. Your donation to Caritas Australia’s Christmas Appeal funds valuable global projects that support communities in need across the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Whether big or small, when you donate to Caritas Australia's Christmas Appeal you join a community of compassionate individuals dedicated to creating a positive impact and building a brighter future for all.

We cannot do any of this without you. This season, help us help others by donating to the Christmas Appeal and giving the gift of compassion.

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