The Gold Coast SUNS have once again teamed up with its Major Charity Partner RizeUp to support the 2023 Christmas Gift Appeal.

Now in its eighth consecutive year, this initiative by the Gold Coast-based national domestic and family violence charity aims to secure a record 25,000 new donations for distribution as Christmas gifts to victim-survivors and their families across Australia this year.

Recognising the critical need for support during the holiday season, RizeUp CEO and founder Nicolle Edwards emphasised the significance of continued support from the community and organisations like the Gold Coast SUNS.

"It is absolutely incredible to see so many generous businesses, organisations, and sporting teams continue to throw their support behind RizeUp's annual Christmas Gift Appeal and understand its importance to so many around the country who otherwise would have very little to celebrate at Christmas," Ms Edwards said.

“Frontline services managing domestic and family violence-related calls experience spikes of 20-40% during the Christmas period. We are planning to distribute 25,000 presents this year to bring joy to women and children experiencing one of their first Christmas’ free from violence.

“Your support will bring joy and comfort to those who need it most this holiday season. Thank you for your kindness and for making a positive impact on the lives of families affected by domestic and family violence. Let's come together to create a brighter and happier Christmas for everyone.”

Last week, RizeUp ambassador and GC SUNS defender Sam Collins alongside AFLW ruck Lauren Bella joined team members and volunteers in preparing and sorting gifts for distribution.

SUNS Chief Executive Mark Evans expressed the club's commitment to making a positive impact in the community. 

"At the Gold Coast SUNS, we want to be more than just a football club; we're striving to have a meaningful impact in the community," Evans stated. 

"The work RizeUp continues to do in assisting families in need is incredible, and we have been honored to play a role in supporting the organisation as one of our major charity partners since 2020."

“The 2022 Christmas Appeal was hugely successful, and we're motivated to continue to drive the goodwill of our community to ensure the 2023 Christmas Appeal has an even greater impact. We will once again be encouraging Gold Coast SUNS players, coaches, and staff to support the RizeUp Christmas Appeal through donations where possible."

Since its establishment in 2015, RizeUp has assisted more than 13,754 families and 27,004 children by providing more than 2,400 furnished homes for those fleeing domestic and family violence to have a fresh start. 

The Christmas Appeal is set to run until Wednesday, December 13, with the Gold Coast SUNS administration and training facility at the Austworld Centre (Level 1, Gold Coast Sports and Leisure Centre, 296 Nerang Broadbeach Rd) listed as an official collection point for donations. A full list of collection points can be viewed here.

As part of the 2023 RizeUp Christmas Appeal, RizeUp are calling on compassionate individuals to contribute by purchasing new gifts for mums and children seeking refuge. RizeUp are on a mission to collect and distribute 25,000 gifts, and every donation counts. 

Gift ideas can include toys, art and craft supplies, games, toys for babies, sports equipment, soccer balls, rugby balls, AFL balls, cricket sets, LEGO, books, board games, baby dolls, barbie dolls, makeup for teens, nail polish sets, gift vouchers, and bath product packs. 

To ensure the appropriateness and safety of the gifts, RizeUp cannot accept weapon-inspired toys or food items. Additionally, please gift your items unwrapped. For those who prefer to contribute financially, a fundraising page for the Christmas Gift Appeal has been established. If you or anyone you know needs help, please contact the national helpline 1800RESPECT or your local domestic violence centre.