The Bloodwood Tree has launched its Community Christmas Assistance Program, hoping to help 320 vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families in Port and South Hedland.

It is the sixth year Bloodwood Tree has coordinated the program, which takes referrals from local service and welfare organisations including St Vincent de Paul, Hedland Well Women’s Centre, Ashburton Aboriginal Corporation, Mission Australia Pilbara, Wirraka Maya Aboriginal Health Service, Pilbara Community Legal Service (PCLS), IBN, Port Hedland Women’s Refuge and the Bloodwood Tree.

The program involves KMART South Hedland’s Wishing Tree Appeal, Salvation Army Karratha, Lotterywest, BHP, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto, and Roy Hill.

Bloodwood Tree Chief Executive Officer Kelly Howlett said the 2020 Hedland Community Christmas Assistance Program assisted 167 individuals, 123 families, and 333 children.

“With the collective efforts of all agencies and services this year, in light of the additional generous support received, we are aiming to provide support for 320 vulnerable and at-risk individuals and families,” Kelly said.

BHP Manager Communities, Chris Cottier, said Christmas was a time of year for people to come together and celebrate.

“This important program helps local families and individuals experiencing financial hardship to do just that by providing food, toys, and presents,” Chris said.

Fortescue General Manager Hedland Operations Mark Komene said Fortescue was founded on the belief that communities should benefit from the business’ success.

“We are proud that through our Community Grants Program, Fortescue will bring some Christmas cheer to the Hedland Community this year and hopefully make the festive season a little easier for families suffering from financial hardship,” Mark said.

A spokesperson for Rio Tinto said that in a small community like Hedland, “it is always great to see programs like this tailored to local risks and those who need it most. Rio Tinto is proud to be part of such a valuable initiative”.

The Hedland Community Christmas Assistance Program will distribute the Christmas support from December 10 to 17