Warilla's The DENNY Foundation calling for business involvement in its ‘12 Weeks of Christmas Giving’ initiative

Purcell family members Banjo Povea-Purcell, Matilda Povea-Purcell, Kel Povea-Purcell and Olivia Povea-Purcell with some of the hamper items, alongside Margaret Purcell and Santa during last year's appeal. Picture: Georgia Matts
Purcell family members Banjo Povea-Purcell, Matilda Povea-Purcell, Kel Povea-Purcell and Olivia Povea-Purcell with some of the hamper items, alongside Margaret Purcell and Santa during last year's appeal. Picture: Georgia Matts

An Illawarra charity is calling on the public to help them aid the less fortunate this Christmas. 

The Warilla-based DENNY Foundation is again hosting its ‘12 Weeks of Christmas Giving’ initiative this year. 

Organisation co-founder Margaret Purcell said the initiative supported families experiencing extreme hardship. 

She said for a 12-week period participating Shellharbour area businesses put a non-perishable item aside from their shopping each week for inclusion in Christmas hampers.   

The foundation then collect the items and distribute the hampers. 

This year, a dozen families have been chosen by principals from six Illawarra public schools – Windang, Peterborough, Shellharbour, Warilla North, Balarang and Barrack Heights – to be the recipients of the hampers.

Mrs Purcell called on more businesses and other organisations to donate items. 

“The schools have chosen families that have had extreme hardships throughout the year, and Christmas really isn’t on their radar,” she said.

“We’ve gone from helping six families to ten last year, to 12 this year. I’d like to be able to get up to 20 families eventually.”

In December, the families will visit the foundation’s headquarters to collect the hampers, filled with fruit, vegetables, meat, pantry items and children’s toys. 

To get involved in the Christmas appeal, phone 4297 2220 or 0412 100 369. 

Mrs Purcell and late husband John founded the not-for-profit organisation and named it after their youngest son, Dennis “Denny” Purcell.

Denny took his own life more than 15 years ago, aged 25, after battling chronic endogenous depression.

His parents then decided to assist those affected by poverty, mental illness, depression, drug and alcohol addiction and loss by suicide.