Every year as December rolls around, I always feel this really interesting dichotomy between what is going on in the world and what is happening on our orange chairs. On one hand, people are making plans, connecting with their families and looking ahead to the new year; then on the other side, there are service providers closing down for the holidays and friends who are disconnected from all of the things above.

Although Orange Sky is still in the rebound and rebuild phase after COVID-19, we’re about to break our record for the total number of shifts delivered in a month. This is a testament to our incredible volunteers and our amazing team leading this, however it also tells us that there’s more we can be doing in the communities we already operate in to support people doing it tough.

The holiday period is a time when more and more people want to volunteer and find ways to support their community, whereas for our friends, it’s sometimes an even more challenging time than normal. I think for some people, it can be a big reminder about the connection that they don’t have with their community or family, it isn’t always a celebration of having family and support around you; it can be a matter of just getting through the days.

What an orange chair represents for me, and I think for our volunteers and friends as well, is really a sense of normality. It’s a sense of when you’re sitting there, you’re having a yarn with someone, you’re talking to a volunteer, you’re talking to someone else who might be in a similar situation to where you are, but it’s a place of no judgment. It’s a place to just have a normal chat. So whether that’s Christmas Day, New Year’s day, or in the middle of June, it doesn’t really matter. I think what we all want is to be a part of something; to be part of a community and to have that sense of normality.

This will be the sixth year that some of my family and I have headed out on shift on Christmas Day. I have a relatively small immediate family and we don’t have massive get-togethers or anything like that, so it’s been really cool incorporating Orange Sky – which is such a big part of my life – as part of our holiday traditions.

Our Christmas Day shift will be one of the 1,000 that we hope to run over the holidays to support our friends, like Crystal, and lay the foundation for an even bigger 2021. $300,000 is the magic number, and thanks to support from the Flannery Foundation and another anonymous donor, any donations we receive from the community over the holidays will be matched dollar for dollar.

To all of our friends; I hope we can do our best to support you through this time and ensure an orange chair is there for a chat whenever you need it.

To all of our volunteers and team; a massive thanks for sticking with us (or joining us) in 2020. It’s been a challenging year, and I can’t wait for us to create an even greater impact together in 2021.

Finally, to our community, thank you for your help to make all of this happen. We’re so grateful for your support of our mission to positively connect communities, and if you’re able to make a donation these holidays, you’ll be providing double the impact for our friends doing it tough.

Can you help make sure an orange chair is there to support our friends these holidays?

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Orange Sky Australia • 2020 • 17 Dover Street, Albion Queensland 4010 • (07) 3067 5800 • ABN/Charity ID: 85890622990 • We are a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) All donations over $2 are fully tax deductible as a Deductible Gift Recipient by the Australian Tax Office