SHINING A LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS

For Debbie and Ron Hill, giving to others is as natural as breathing. For more than 17 years, they’ve been dedicated to making life better for thousands of families. By Rachel Vickary.

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The story of how and why Lighthouse Care first started is about finding the light, even in our darkest moments. For founder, Debbie Hill, a major breakdown 23 years ago gave her an insight into how many in her community were struggling; with financial security, with mental health issues, or with social isolation.

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“I ended up in the psych ward, and while I had my wonderful family who supported me during that time, I saw that a lot of people who didn’t have anyone,” Debbie said.

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It was a lightbulb moment for Debbie and Ron, who decided to dedicate themselves to helping the vulnerable members of the community. Their first foray into giving was donating bread to a few families in need from the back of an old van.

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“We didn’t have any lofty plans about expanding or getting bigger at that point. It was just about helping three or four local families.

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“We have five sons who all sacrificed a lot as teenagers to help build Lighthouse Care. They’ve all got amazing talents and they all still work with us.”

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Seventeen years later, Lighthouse Care has 65,000 members and helps over 2,000 families each week, thanks to the sacrifice and hard work of many incredible people. The organisation provides low-cost food hampers, each containing around 20 products valued at $150, which they then sell to their members for $25, and a retail shop open to everyone.

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“Over the years we’ve built some great partnerships with suppliers. Everything in our store is 50-70{bcb492322d3f6e2d7c905629f3e2536711b2e287983c74aca4b627749f1e3643} off retail prices. We sell items that might be getting closer to their best before date, or if the packaging or branding changes for a certain product, we can pick up the items in their older packaging on clearance and then we can pass those savings along.

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“It is important to know that by shopping at Lighthouse, not only are you getting some fabulous bargains for your family, but you are helping us to help the most vulnerable families in the community.”

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Shopping at the store means Lighthouse Care can increase their buying power with wholesalers and organisations, and helps them to buy more products for those in need. Their core values centre around providing food and essentials, while ensuring that all recipients are treated with dignity and compassion.

“We give away around 1,000 of our $25 trolleys each year for families who are doing it tough and we also have a wholesale division now, that allows us to help between 40 and 60 charities across Queensland and News South Wales who are offering similar services.”

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Debbie said that they often helped middle-class families where two parents are working but are struggling to pay the bills. They provide tangible hope to families who are doing it tough.

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During the pandemic, they launched a click and collect service and have just recently started a home delivery service, enabling them to reach as many families in need as possible.

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As well as helping out with food donations and reduced-price groceries, Lighthouse Care hosts events such as a five-star, red carpet dinner for their members who are struggling with domestic violence or extreme hardship in the lead up to Christmas, with donated toys and gifts for the kids.

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“For Christmas 2020, we were able to make miracles happen by fulfilling the Santa Wish Lists of 427 children.”

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Debbie credits their 32 staff members and 20 volunteers for all their hard work in both the Logan and Hillcrest outlets. Each week, volunteers help out at their Crestmead warehouse, packing around 2,000 boxes of food to make 700 hampers each week for families in need.

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If you’d like to find out more about becoming a volunteer, visit the Lighthouse Care website.

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https://lighthousecare.org.au

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Santa’s Little Helpers

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This year, we are aiming to impact the lives of 400 children by having them fill in their Christmas Wish List and give it to Secret Santa Shopper to buy it for them. If you would like to be involved with fulfilling these wish lists, we would love to work with you!

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Any assistance is so greatly appreciated and we thank you in advance for your willingness to assist, or to even spread the word.

Register to become one of our ‘Santa’s Little Helpers’ and sponsor $200 worth of gifts for a child in need.

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The process is simple. Once you register we will send you a Christmas wish list that a child has put together. You can then shop for and wrap the gifts for that child. Then return them to us so we can deliver them at Christmas.

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The children that you purchase gifts for are extremely grateful and it will really go a long way to make their Christmas beautiful.

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If you have any further questions regarding the appeal or your lists please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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