How your support makes a difference

For over ten years we have been reaching out to families in crisis
through our Merry Mission Christmas Appeal

Last year we gave

426 helping hampers
to 326 families
1,200 gifts
to 480 children

These are families we work with every day to support their dream of living a happy and safe family life.
Your contribution, no matter how small, can mean gifts for the children and a special meal for the whole family to share.

Real stories of real families we support

Imagine what it’s like:

to be a parent whose only choices are violence or homelessness

to leave behind everything so you and your children can be free from harm

to be the sole carer for your children while recovering from a violent past

to be without basic essentials and still have to care for a child’s complex needs.

Imagine if there was nowhere to turn.

That’s how Maya’s mum Asha felt.

At seven years of age, Maya is simply glad that her dad could no longer hurt mum. Asha, Maya and her five siblings relocated to safety leaving behind all their belongings. Two of Maya’s siblings have complex needs and she knew her mum would barely be able to scrape together a meal for Christmas.

Thankfully, Asha was referred to Windermere and she and her family are now rebuilding their lives after receiving a range of vital supports and essential items.

“Without Windermere there would not have been a Christmas, we really had nothing, the kids had no toys and were sleeping on mattresses,” says Asha.

*names changed to protect privacy

Help us make Christmas bright for families

University graduate May married young and dreamt of pursuing postgraduate studies. After marriage and the birth of her two children, Cherry and Timon, her husband would not allow her to study and became increasingly abusive and controlling.

May knew she needed to take action to protect herself and her young children but she also knew that by leaving her dangerous home situation she and her children would face homelessness.

“It was tough. I had no friends or family here for support at that time,” she says.

Luckily, May, Cherry and Timon were referred to Windermere. Thanks to their determination and our support, this Christmas they are finally safe and slowly rebuilding their lives.

Help us make Christmas bright for families

When you support Merry Mission you touch the lives of real families with real struggles.

Give food hamper items

A helping hamper could mean a family in crisis won’t need to go without this Christmas.
We aim to reach as many families as possible this Christmas, but we need your help.

How it works

Simply fill the enquiry form below and one of our team will be in touch to arrange collection or drop-off time.

Items we need:

  • Carton of long life milk
  • Box of cereal
  • Tin of protein
  • Packet of rice, pasta or noodles
  • Jar of pasta sauce
  • 1-2 sweets (chocolate or biscuits)
  • Olive oil
  • Honey
  • Everyday essentials e.g. toothpaste
  • Festive items (bon-bons, wrapping paper, sticky tape, Christmas pudding)

Check out our FAQ for information on food items we can/can’t accept.

Give a gift

This year, we aim to provide over 1,000 gifts for boys and girls (aged up to 16) who might otherwise miss out on the joy of opening a Christmas gift.

How it works

We accept gifts suitable for children from 0-16 years such as books, games or toys.

Please note that all gifts need to be unwrapped.

If you’d like to contribute, simply fill in the enquiry form below, and one of our team will be in touch to arrange a collection or drop-off time.

See FAQ for more information.

Gift and Hamper drop off

Deliver gifts or hamper items no later than 5 pm on 29 November to:

Windermere Pakenham Office

Toomah Community Centre

19 Golden Green Street

Pakenham VIC 3805

The Toomah Community Centre is only open on select days. If you wish to drop off a number of donated items, please contact to discuss drop-off options.

Share real joy

You can help us make Christmas bright for families who need it most. Will you give a little so they can make memories that mean a lot?

Merry Mission FAQs

Non-perishable food items, personal care items, brand new gifts, toys and clothes – the list is endless. Sensory toys, games, books and vouchers are often quite popular.
We really would love to take everything on offer, but unfortunately due to health and safety reasons, we are unable to accept perishable food items (meat, cheese, yoghurt etc), and items that have passed their expiry date. We are also unable to accept any second-hand/used toys and products, or any items that are dangerous, perishable, or inappropriate (alcohol, cigarettes, weapons etc).
We like to make sure that everyone receives gifts appropriate to their age and situation. Our case workers (who deliver the gifts) know best what would suit their families. They personally hand pick suitable gifts for their families, but importantly it also gives the parents a sense of control in being able to provide for their children. We do welcome donations of gift wrapping and sticky tape if you would like to include some with your items, that way the parents can wrap the gifts themselves.
We have created some useful digital assets for you to share Merry Mission, including an email template and a story highlighting how our appeal makes immediate impact on the lives of families we work with. Just contact the team on 1300 946 337 or drop us an email
Sometimes life deals us a bad hand, and circumstances mean families are simply unable to afford food and necessities, let alone gifts. Many have experienced extreme disadvantage, trauma and vulnerability , and are connected with Windermere through one of our life-changing services.

Merry Mission provides an opportunity to bring some Christmas joy to children and families who are doing it tough and would otherwise miss out.

Merry Mission has been running for over ten years and has provided more than 10,000 gifts and around 4,500 hampers to thousands of families across our community.
Windermere is a not-for-profit community service organisation working across Victoria including key regional locations, to help those who need it most. Working together with our community, we deliver many services through critical partnerships with the government. Find more information here.

Enquire today