In recent weeks, Mount Gambier community groups, businesses and individuals have contributed $7,250 and more than $5,000 in hand made wooden toys to the 2020 Mount Gambier Community Mayor’s Christmas Appeal.
The annual appeal provides a united and direct local response to the needs of the community during the Christmas period each year. Uniting Care, ac.care, Lifeline SE, St Vincent de Paul and The Salvation Army jointly distribute all donations through the Christmas Cheer program.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for many people within our community which means that local support agencies are expecting greater demand for assistance,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin said.
Local timber company NF McDonnell & Sons donated $5000 to the cause to assist people within the community who may have faced additional challenges this year.
“I think we can all recognise that 2020 has presented us with many new challenges, and as a result a number of people within our community may now be struggling. The Mount Gambier Community Mayor’s Christmas appeal continues to raise much needed funds to assist those in need. We felt that now, more than ever, additional support was needed and were pleased to be able to donate to the 2020 appeal," NF McDonnell & Sons CEO Craig Nisbet said.
Group Training Employment donates to the appeal each year and also decided to increase the organisation's contribution to $1,500 in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.
“It is important to ensure that goodwill within the community goes around. This is an opportunity to reflect on that and encourage others to do the same so that we build a better community,” Group Training Employment Chair Ray Herbert said.
“We hope that our donation encourages other people to share and give back for the benefit of the community,” Mr Herbert said.
Benevolent community member Julian Mattay donated $750.00 to the appeal to help others enjoy the festive season.
“I am happy that I am personally able to give back to the community in this way,” Mr Mattay said.
The Mount Gambier Men’s Shed and its band of eight ‘toy boys’ continued to work throughout a four-month COVID shut down period in 2020 to create and paint 250 toys for local children, to be distributed to the appeal’s support agencies.
“Ian Bond and I put in 40-hour weeks during the shed’s closure period to make the toys in our own personal sheds. We then had the volunteer ‘toy boys’ come and collect the toys and paint them at their respective houses,” Men’s Shed member Peter Heness said.
“The kids need to have Christmas this year, more so than any other year, so COVID-19 wasn’t going to stop us from creating and delivering the toys,” he said.
The wooden toys are made using donated timber and paint and aimed at children from the age of one to five years old. The offering this year includes a cricket set, trolley of blocks, ironing boards, a clock, pull along cat and dog, knock through games, hand rattles, log trucks, rockers, cooking utensils and skipping ropes.
“We like to know that there will be lots of smiles on Christmas morning,” Men’s Shed member Ian Bond said.
All funds raised as part of the appeal are distributed within the local area.
“A $50.00 donation will provide a food hamper for an entire family,” Mayor Martin said.
“Our community is very generous, and I am personally grateful for each and every contribution to the appeal.”
Donations can be made through the following channels:
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Media and Communications Coordinator Sharny McLean on 8721 2401 or firstname.lastname@example.org