Still time to donate to winter appeal

About $200,000 is still needed from Victorians if The Smith Family is to reach its 2015 Winter Appeal national target of $3.5 million by tomorrow.

The national, independent children’s charity – which operates in four sites across Gippsland – aims to break the poverty cycle through education.

The Smith Family’s Morwell and Churchill teams offer 638 annual Learning for Life scholarships to 290 families, educational support programs and a community Kurnai Educationn Hub Pilot. Victorian general manager Anton Leschen said although The Smith Family would not “leave anyone out in the cold”, limited funding made achieving long-term commitments difficult.

“It just makes it hard for us to have long-term security in our commitments and our partnerships to families and our schools,” Mr Leschen said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data from 2013 shows Morwell to be ranked in the top 10 per cent of the most disadvantaged Australian towns. Mr Leschen said across Gippsland The Smith Family invested $1.2 million and supported 1200 students, potentially for up to 17 years, to complete their education.

“People get lots of requests to help out; what’s important with The Smith Family is we have rigorous evaluation of our work. We know we’re making a difference,” he said.

“The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal is a chance for local people in the Valley to stay at school, get an education and have far better chances at adulthood.”

Those who wish to donate to The Smith Family’s Winter Appeal can phone 1800 024 069 or visit