WHILE many people don't buy Christmas presents until mid-December, UnitingCare Queensland service groups are already in full swing preparing gifts for those who are doing it tough this year.
"This is always a busy time of year for us as we come together to help out those in our communities who need some support," UnitingCare Queensland chief executive officer Anne Cross said.
"We would like to encourage the public to donate to Operation Santa at Target stores as early as possible so that we can provide gifts in time for Christmas morning.
"Also in many areas our services hold Christmas parties a few weeks prior to Christmas and invite individuals and families to choose their gifts so it's important that we have gifts early enough to do this."
Recipients from past appeals, like the Cameron family, expressed their thanks.
"Thank you so much for the lovely gifts for my children, it made our Christmas a whole lot brighter," Ms Cameron said.
"We were not looking forward to Christmas as it seemed we would not have enough money to pay for anything, but your presents made it so that the kids could have a lovely Christmas like all their friends.
"We all had such a fun time picking them up from the UnitingCare centre. Thank you for making our Christmas much happier than it would have been."
People can help by spotting the large red Operation Santa tree at any Target or Target Country store, take a gift tag from beside the tree and buy a gift for someone in need.
Alternatively, gift cards can be bought from Target checkouts.
UnitingCare representatives will collect the gifts and ensure they are distributed to those who need them in time for Christmas morning.
All gifts go to people in the local community where they are donated.
Thanks to the generosity of the community, UnitingCare and Target have collected and distributed more than 1.7 million gifts in the past 20 years, with more than 81,000 donated last year.
Operation Santa runs until Sunday, December 23.
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