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Keira MP launches 12th annual Christmas toy drive

Keira MP, Ryan Park with Lesley and Gillian from SAHSSI

CHRISTMAS should be a time for celebrating. Yet for hundreds of local families across the Illawarra region, it is a time of suffering and struggle.

For too many children, it lacks the happiness and joy we all too often take for granted. 

State MP for Keira, Ryan Park doesn’t want any child to miss out on the excitement of waking up to presents under the Christmas tree.

For the 12th year his annual toy drive will be collecting new toys for the children who are being supported by local women’s refuge and homelessness service, Supported Accommodation & Homelessness Services Shoalhaven Illawarra (SAHSSI). SAHSSI is a not-for-profit agency covering the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions.

Pressure on local organisations like SAHSSI has increased over the past few years with COVID seeing a spike in domestic violence and women and their children fleeing their homes.

“COVID has tragically seen an increase in domestic violence and women and their children fleeing home and needing support” Mr Park said.

“When you consider the terrible circumstances that these families have had to endure, often leaving everything behind, to seek safety at the women’s refuge, it breaks your heart.

“The generosity of the community has meant that year on year my toy drive has continued to grow.  By December my office resembles Santa’s workshop which is only thanks to many kind people spreading their goodwill” he said.

Mr Park is urging locals to again rally behind these families and buy a gift for a child this Christmas. The ages of the children vary from newborns to teenagers.

Mr Park is encouraging individuals to deliver new and unwrapped gifts to his office at 247 Princes Highway, Corrimal.


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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.

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