HUNDREDS of toys were delivered to children in the Limestone Coast and Murraylands who may not have otherwise received Christmas gifts thanks to a charity drives at the Mount Gambier and Murray Bridge Marketplace shopping centres.

Shoppers filled a gift collection box outside Mount Gambier Big W with more than 230 toys for ac.care to distribute to vulnerable families and children.

The shopping centre management also donated eight $25 gift cards to boost the campaign.

Gifts were distributed to vulnerable families through ac.care’s Mount Gambier Community Centre, which includes the Limestone Coast Homelessness Service.

Meanwhile, shoppers at the Murray Bridge Marketplace also contributed to their region’s combined agencies Christmas appeal, with toys distributed to registered families by ac.care in partnership with The Salvation Army and Vinnies.

ac.care chief executive Shane Maddocks said organisations such as ac.care relied on the support of the community to increase their impact, particularly as demand increased over the Christmas period.

“The year 2020 was uniquely challenging with the impact of COVID-19 on top of the pressures already faced by vulnerable families and individuals,” Mr Maddocks said.

“Sadly, around the festive season and the end of the year, we see an increasing number of people in need of support to avoid or move past a crisis.

“Some of these people have lost employment or income as a result of COVID-19 and our services have seen a recent influx of people at risk of homelessness due to a range of factors.

“Distribution of toys and hampers at Christmas time can provide some dignity and hope to people struggling to cope at this time of year, especially parents under the pressure of having to choose between paying essential bills or providing gifts for their children.

“We hear many touching stories at this time of year from clients and are forever grateful for the community’s generous support to help us bring some relief and hopefully joy to people who need it most at this time of year.”

Meanwhile, an annual food drive at the Mount Gambier shopping centre also provided more than 1.1 tonnes of food to Regional Foodbank Mount Gambier thanks to donations from shoppers ahead of the organisation’s peak demand period.

Foodbank supports ac.care’s work to provide food to vulnerable people throughout the year.

ac.care can be contacted on 1300 ACCARE (1300 22 22 73).

CAPTION: Generous Haul: Mount Gambier Marketplace marketing executive Paula Creasey, Woolworths Mount Gambier Marketplace store manager Tony Bueti, Big W customer service assistant Melanie Riley, ac.care marketing and communications manager Jason Wallace and ac.care homelessness client support worker Mellany Ritter stand with the collection bin, which was inundated with donated presents from shoppers.

ac.care Locations

ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

Mount Gambier
Head office and Foster Care

70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Community Centre

22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Family Relationship Centre

1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday
9am to 5pm
Tuesday
10:30am to 5pm
Wednesday
9am to 5pm
Thursday
9am to 5pm
Later by appt
Friday
9am to 5pm

Berri Community Centre
Servicing the Riverland

5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Murraylands Centre
Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

Millicent
Community Centre

57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
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