'GIVE GENEROUSLY' is the message from Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser as cost-of-living pressures hit struggling families hard.
Cr Fraser launched this year's Mayor's Christmas Appeal on Thursday alongside Newcastle Anglican's social justice service Samaritans. which has helped more than 4000 people across the Hunter through its emergency relief centre and students from Speers Point Public School in the past financial year.
"Every year, our Lake Mac community has demonstrated its generosity and compassion, donating toys, food and other gifts for families in need in our city," she said.
"The Mayor's Christmas Appeal is a reminder that even in the midst of our most festive season, there are many among us experiencing difficult times - emotionally, financially, or both."
Suggested gifts include toiletry packs, jewellery, hand cream, chocolate, socks, aftershave and deodorant.
Ideas for kids include beach towels, sun hats and sunscreens, Barbie dolls, sports gear, monster trucks, cars and board games, while gift cards are great for all ages.
Samaritans emergency relief coordinator Beth Hanna said the charity has been sharing Christmas generosity, kindness and goodwill with local families for more than 20 years.
"Gifts generously donated will help us support people in need across our community this Christmas," she said.
Cr Fraser said the council has also worked with Samaritans to create a handy gift guide to help generous people in the community work out what to donate.
"That means anyone can drop off food, toys and other gifts at any of those locations, as well as here at our admin building, and they will all be distributed in time for Christmas," she said.
This year's appeal is open until December 15, with drop-off sites at Lake Mac Libraries branches and the council's administration building at Speers Point.