What started out as donations of wrapped gifts to the Reading Cinemas Maitland Wishing Tree appeal is now an annual toy drive, the Sheldon family brightening Christmas for Hunter families in need.
Now in its eighth year, the Susan Roskell Toy and Gift Drive provides gifts and toys to children, parents and carers who have been impacted by domestic and family violence, homelessness, illness and injury.
For Bolwarra Height's resident Todd Sheldon, the drive is all about giving disadvantaged children a reason to smile at Christmas.
The Mutual Bank is also spreading plenty of Christmas cheer this year and have decided to partner with the Susan Roskell Toy and Gift Drive to make Christmas a little bit brighter for Hunter families.
Mr Sheldon said it is heartening to see the support from the community and small businesses grow each year.
"The community support enables us to be able to support the ever-increasing number of families that are seeking support and assistance," he said.
Chief member officer at The Mutual Bank Matthew Dunnill said becoming a sponsor of the well-established and respected appeal was an easy decision for the bank.
"The Susan Roskell Toy and Gift Drive supports grassroots charities and community organisations, helping them to meet the growing needs of families seeking assistance at what can be a really challenging time of year," he said.
"Each year the donations have steadily increased with thousands of toys going to families in need."
The Sheldon's changed the name of the drive in 2022 to the Susan Roskell Toy and Gift Drive, to honour Todd's mum who passed away during their 2021 campaign.
"Mum was a catalyst for starting this and will be forever loved and missed," Todd said.
In other news:
Community members can drop unwrapped, new toys, presents and gift vouchers into one of the large boxes located at each of the The Mutual Bank's branches.
The branches are located at East Maitland, Maitland, Dungog, Raymond Terrace, Rutherford, Edgeworth and Mayfield.
The Mutual Bank branches will be a collection point for the gifts and the bank's team will also volunteer over two days to help sort the donations at their Head Office in Green Hills, which will then be distributed to the charities.
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