Making a permanent difference in young lives
BY LAUREN MARTIN
The Salvation Army in the Hunter region is celebrating 35 years of partnering with Newcastle Permanent to make Christmas wishes come true for local families who are ‘doing it tough’.
The Newcastle Permanent toy drive has donated tens of thousands of toys over the past 35 years, with locals dropping toys to their branches across the Hunter and regional NSW.
This year heralds a new chapter, with Greater Bank joining as a collection point for the toy drive following the merger of the two banks under the banner of NGM Group in March 2023, which will help assist more families across NSW and into south-east Queensland.
Linda Stanborough is a Broker Business Development Manager for the Group, who has been involved for many years with this drive and has supported The Salvation Army’s Christmas Appeal since she was a kid.
“I remember picking out toys when I was little and the feeling it gave me to know that I could make someone else happy, and I’ve continued this with my own family,” she said. “When the opportunity came up to volunteer through work, I jumped at the chance to make more of a difference.”
She says she loves sorting through all the donations into age ranges and packing them up for delivery to the Salvos.
“I love Christmas and the magical feel it has, especially for children, and it’s heartbreaking to think that a child may believe they are not special or deserving of a gift from Santa. It wouldn’t feel like Christmas to me without dedicating some time to helping out, and I love that my workplace encourages this.”
NGM Group’s Manager of Partnerships and Community Engagement, Kirsten Lyndon, says the Salvos do great work all year round, which is visible in the community, so it made sense to partner with the organisation when the appeal started all those decades ago.
“We’re a customer-owned organisation, so it’s very important to us that we give back to the communities that support us,” Kirsten said.
“When we first partnered with the Salvos in 1989 it was a really positive experience, and we could see the good that was being done, so we’ve never looked back!”
The Salvation Army will this year distribute tens of thousands of food hampers and more than half a million donated gifts to families in need of assistance. Corporate and Community toy and food drives are an integral part of the mission to bring Christmas cheer to all Australian families.