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A Christmas gift that means so much more
SMILES will be a bit wider at 16 Tasmanian nursing homes this festive season as Nanette Jaksic, a CPSU Retired Member, helps a cause close to her heart.
After her cousin Margaret’s mother died in a NSW nursing home she started the Boxes for Christmas charity by buying small gifts for nursing home residents with no family or friends.
“Margaret decided she’d do this, giving gifts like pyjamas, hankies, talc powder and socks, at Christmas time.
Her mum, Auntie Edna, was very kind, but they weren’t rich.
They lived in Canley Vale in Sydney’s Western Suburbs, and Edna knew people in her street that didn’t see anyone for Christmas, so each year she’d go around the neighbourhood, and give them a small gift.
Margaret wanted to do something that would honour her mum, who always had her little boxes to give people, so that’s how Boxes for Christmas started.”
Now Nanette and some friends fundraise, buy, wrap and deliver gifts to Tasmanian nursing homes.
“People are very much forgotten in nursing homes, and a lot of the residents are just sitting round in chairs at Christmas, never seeing anyone or getting anything, so that’s what this is about.”
The gifts, however small, mean a lot to those who receive them.
“One year I was with my son and there was a lady in the dining room who
didn’t speak to anyone, so we went in and said ‘we have a present for you’.
She turned around smiling and said ‘thank you, I really like that’, and then a woman who worked there told us she’d never said anything to anyone before.”
This year 189 presents are wrapped and ready to deliver to the 16 homes.
“It’s just a little thing we can do, and you never know, we might be in that situation one day.”
As well as helping with Boxes for Christmas, Nanette also volunteers for the Royal Hobart Hospital, Wildcare and the Cancer Council.
Nanette retired two years ago but worked for Parks & Wildlife Service for 27 years in a range of admin roles and was also on the union’s council and was a CPSU Delegate.
When asked why she’d stayed on as a Retired Member Nanette said she believed in the union and didn’t want to sever that tie.
Her connection with the union goes way back to when she went with her Aunty to help clean the old Tasmanian Public Service Association (now the CPSU) building.
She loved the people she worked with, and still goes in to visit them at her old workplace, sometimes holding a raffle for Boxes for Christmas.
“What the people at Parks and Wildlife do is wonderful and they are true believers in what they do – It’s a family up there.”
Learn more about Boxes for Christmas here.
Find Boxes for Christmas on Facebook here.