Spread a little joy

Imagine being unable to give your child a gift this Christmas. Sadly, this is a reality for struggling local families doing it tough this year.
For the past eight years, the Combined Churches of the Macedon Ranges have organised a Christmas ‘Toy Shop’ for families living in the shire who might struggle to afford a Christmas gift for their child.
Last year they helped more than 150 families. Each year, they anticipate the need to be even greater.
Coordinator Georgina Harvey said the Toy Shop relied completely on the generosity of the community to donate gifts to stock the shop.
“Families are referred to us by local support and welfare agencies and are given a personal invite to attend the shop and pick out toys for their children,” Ms Harvey said.
“As we rely on donated goods, there is no cost to the families for these gifts. We also offer gift wrapping and a cafe-style space to enjoy free tea and coffee and home-baked goodies.”
For families who are facing challenging times, Christmas can become an incredibly stressful, lonely and sad season.
Ms Harvey said the toy shop gave struggling families the opportunity to enjoy what others may take for granted – to choose something special for their child and be able to give it to them on Christmas morning.
Donations of toys for boys and girls aged 0-18 are needed. Gifts need to be new and valued around $20.
“We particularly fall short in gifts, books and stocking fillers for older children each year,” Ms Harvey said.
“We also accept smaller items for stocking fillers, books, plush toys and wrapping paper.”
Donations can be dropped into the offices of Cobaw Community Health in Kyneton and Woodend, or to the Midland Express office in Kyneton, or contact Georgina Harvey (0404 442 891) directly to arrange pick up of donations.
Donations of both gifts and money will be gratefully received. All financial donations will only be used to purchase toys to stock the shop. Gifts need to be received by Wednesday December 12 to allow time for sorting and setting up of the toy shop.

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