Toy drive targets teenagers

Wagga Wagga secondary students are bringing festive fun to a neglected demographic.

Image: Chloe Hinds and fellow students at Kooringal High School are ‘wrapped’ in Christmas spirit.

Little kids are not the only children that love opening presents at Christmas – that was the motivation for Kooringal High School to undertake a toy drive for teenagers.

An initiative of the school’s Student Representative Council, the toy drive originally aimed to supply gifts for 50 families, but by the end of last week had almost trebled that goal.

Kooringal High School vice-captain Chloe Hinds said the SRC had decided rather than raise money for the school, it had wanted to “give back to the community because it’s been such a hard year”.

“A lot of other toy drives are focused on little kids, but just because you reach a certain age doesn’t mean you still don’t enjoy getting presents at Christmas,” Chloe said.

“We thought of the PCYC (Police & Community Youth Club) and decided to work with them.”

The school had been collecting presents for just two weeks and Chloe said they were overwhelmed by the response from students, teachers, parents and community businesses.

She also highlighted the support from students at the school who came from English as a second language backgrounds.

“A lot of the gifts have come from our Yazidi and EALD kids,” Chloe said. “We had one student who was late to school because she had bought presents to donate.

“The Yazidi students don’t even celebrate Christmas so it is a really beautiful thing for them to do.”

Chloe said after the difficult year, the generosity of the school community had been a morale boost.

“It’s been lovely to see how giving everyone is, not just our school but the whole community – it is really heartwarming,” she said.

Chloe also paid tribute to the school’s “Santa elves” Bree Gurtner and Ella Leonard who had catalogued all the gifts to ensure they went to the right teenagers and had organised a wrapping day at the school today.

The students will hand over the gifts to the local PCYC who will organise distribution of the presents next week.

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