Christmas is a wonderful time of the year when most of us feel the desire to help others. No matter how small or big, spreading a little bit of love is always a good idea. For those who have the extra time to go the extra mile, volunteering at non-profit organizations is a popular way many are serving the people that need our love the most.

Since 2016 an organization called ‘The Heart Project’ has visited hospitals where they photograph ill children sitting with Santa

It all started at one hospital in Melbourne where volunteers took pictures of children and photoshopped them into magical scenery. The project quickly grew and this year they have gone global with visits to hospitals and hospices in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK.

Image credits: Lisa Carney

“The idea sprouted from a conversation between myself and Adam Cubito (Heart Project co-founder) in 2016. We knew that Photographic Art had the ability to transport kids into another world and realized that this would be an incredible project to run in a hospital where many families couldn’t return home for Christmas”, said Heart Project co-founder and Story Art creator Karen Alsop.

“The children love seeing the finished images, for many of them they are totally surprised”

Karen also shared that many parents told her it’s their kids first professional portrait.

Image credits: Christmas Wish Team

“For some it’s been the last family photo before their child has passed on. It’s an emotional ride for our team who become close with these families.”

“What we do is truly precious and we wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Image credits: Mandy Smith and Karen Alsop

This year the project visited 10 hospital and hospices in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Perth, Christchurch, Auckland, Canada, Bristol UK and North Devon UK.

The project usually travels with their Melbourne Santa who is the heart of this Christmas Wish project.

Image credits: Jesus Rameriz

The founder of the project said that their Santa is amazing with the children, and the times that he hasn’t been able to come, Santas from all around the world have come to visit the children in his place.

“This year, some might say more than ever before, we’ve witnessed a world that
could do with a little bit more love,” said Karen. In 2018, the volunteers have visited over 200 children so far.

Image credits: Karen Alshop

“Our mission has always been to put a smile on the face of families who are doing it tough at Christmas by making them escape reality – even for a day – thanks to the power of photography and Photoshop.”

People online instantly fell in love with this initiative. The project not only brightens the day of these children, but also reminds us to spread some joy to those around us.

Image credits: Mandy Smith

Here are some other incredible photos from this year’s project

Image credits: Jason Ulsrud

Image credits: Ben Shirk

Image credits: Richard Wood

Image credits: Mark Heaps

Image credits: Kris Anderson

Image credits: Karen Alshop

Image credits: Estelle Trueman

If you want to learn more about this incredible project make sure to check out their video!