Hundreds of families with children and young people in foster or kinship care programs across the Latrobe Valley did not go without a Christmas surprise this festive season.
Boxes upon boxes of toys and gifts were delivered to Berry Street’s Morwell office, donated by staff and customers at bankmecu’s Latrobe Valley service centres.
Berry Street regional director Gippsland Trish McCluskey said the welfare organisation had never had more kids in care than this year.
“Gippsland leads the state for the number of children requiring out of home care with demand rising a further 15 per cent for our services this year,” Ms McCluskey said.
“These gifts from bankmecu provided Christmas cheer to children and young people in our foster care, kinship care, residential care and young parents programs.”
Ms McCluskey said each year some families in need had to make a choice between buying presents for their children or eating something special on Christmas day.
“These gifts meant that people didn’t have to make that choice. The presents benefited hundreds of families.”
Ms McCluskey thanked bankmecu staff and customers for donating Christmas gifts to Berry Street for the eighth year in a row.
Bankmecu’s Lisa Guatta said this year staff had also fundraised to purchase toys and gifts.
“Our Christmas giving trees at each of our service centres were well supported by customers, many whom have given to Berry Street each year,” Ms Guatta said.
“A real connection has formed between bankmecu staff, customers and Berry Street and there is recognition that the gifts donated will go directly to help young people in our local community.”