A Lake Macquarie mum is encouraging residents to open up their hearts and support The Salvation Army’s annual Christmas Toy Drive Appeal.
Single parent-of-three Caroline benefitted from the service herself from 2019 to 2022 after a friend suggested she contact the Salvos.
Now, inspired by her own experience, she’s joined the organisation to pay that kind-heartedness forward.
“I remember the love, and compassion, and total lack of judgement that I received,” Caroline said.
“I’m still blown away by the generosity of people.
“So, it’s an enormous privilege to meet those in need on what could be their worst day… and we have an enormous opportunity to help and be kind.
“People can be fragile and vulnerable.
“But, we all have a lot of capacity to bring love and hope.
“We may be the glimmer on their horizon.”
Locals are being asked to donate a gift to the Salvos annual Christmas Toy Drive Appeal, which enters its 35th year in partnership with the Newcastle Permanent.
However, 2023 heralds a new chapter with Greater Bank joining as a collection point, too.
“Some 4,000 items were donated last year, but we’re expecting there’ll be even more need in the community this time around,” The Salvation Army’s public relations and community engagement manager Rod Dibley said.
“From January to August, our Doorways Emergency Relief services and Mission and Communities recorded a 15% increase in the number of people assisted.
“On top of that, there was a 19% rise in sessions of care provided to those people in need compared to the same time last year.
“So, we’re predicting to witness a similar trend this Christmas.
“In fact, we are certain there will be people reaching out for help from the Salvos who we’ve never seen before.
“Any and all donations are hugely-appreciated.
“If you’re short of ideas, you can never go wrong with the classics – toys, clothing, books, and games.
“But, something for older kids and teenagers are always welcome, such as vouchers, sporting equipment, beauty products and fashion accessories.
“More and more people are struggling with the basics, so the thought of having to buy presents for children and loved ones is very overwhelming and actually impossible for some.
“I’m confident, with community support in the Hunter, we’ll be able to put some smiles on faces on Christmas Day.”
NGM Group chief customer and digital innovation officer James Cudmore said the organisation was proud to lend a hand.
“With Newcastle Permanent and Greater Bank coming together, we have grown our ability to help in our communities,” he added.
“On this occasion, we’ll now be able to expand our reach.
“We know that the Salvos help thousands of people have a merry Christmas.
“So, on behalf of our staff, it’s an honour to be able to contribute.”
Donations can be made at any Newcastle Permanent or Greater Bank branch until Friday 15 December.
Gifts should be new and unwrapped and are accepted for all ages, including teenagers.
For more community stories:
- Denman firefighting newlyweds a ‘perfect match’
- Lake Macquarie Youth Week 2024 – grants up for grab
- Lifetime of service to Cessnock community honoured
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