With Christmas just days away, the team at AccordWest have been busy collecting and packaging more than 600 toys donated by the South West community.
In the early hours of Friday morning, staff members in the Bunbury office volunteered their time to hand-select gifts for more than 200 children and their parents for the organisation’s annual Christmas Appeal, now in its fifth year.
AccordWest chief executive Neil Hamilton said the South West community’s generosity stretched far and wide to help those who, for varying reasons, had found themselves struggling this Christmas.
“We have contact with a lot of people who won’t enjoy the Christmas many of us have become accustomed too,” he said.
“It doesn’t take a lot for a person’s life to change radically, there is information out there that states many people are only one pay away from going into crisis.
“What this appeal is about, is us sharing with others – we want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
The community organisation received donations from Adele Farina MLC, NAB and a 12-year-old boy from All Saints College who collected toys donated by his classmates with Foodbank providing 100 food hampers at a reduced rate.
“We have a bit of a unique take on this, we want children to have a great Christmas, rather than us wrapping a toy from AccordWest, what we do is put a toy in a bag with paper and cards so mum and dad can wrap them up,” Mr Hamilton said.
“This year we’ve taken a step forward in that there are presents for the mums and dads for the children to give – our ideal would be that families didn’t need this sort of support, but they do.”
Staff began preparations for the appeal more than two months ago in the lead up to Christmas, and hand-delivered the cheerful packages to families in Bunbury, Busselton and Manjimup last week.
“In many years of working in the human services sector I’ve seen great generosity, but this year has been a stand out year considering how other people are travelling in their community,” Mr Hamilton said.
“I think it’s a reflection that most people realise there is a degree of vulnerability and people say ‘hey how can we help’, which is just remarkable.
“A very simple thank you for your compassion and commitment to making a more resilient community.”