Donations from the 2NZ/GemFM Christmas toy and book drive are being distributed to locals in need throughout the Inverell district.
On Friday, Rural Financial Counselling Service picked up 200 toys from the office and took them to Bonshaw where a community day was being held to support farming families doing it tough.
Then, on Saturday the 2NZ/GemFM team set up out the front of The Dust Jacket wrapping around 350 toys in preparation for distribution this week.
2NZ presenter James ‘Monte’ Irvine said the team had many main street goers stop by to lend a helping hand and donate a few more toys and books.
“The atmosphere was fantastic. People came to say hello, donated, helped us wrapped and even Adam Marshall came to give us a hand."
A Christmas tree was set up to put the wrapped presents underneath.
"To watch the presents grow and grow was exciting, the buzz around was fantastic and we had so many people coming up saying 'it's great you're doing this, it's so nice'," he said.
On Monday, the Inverell and Glen Innes Homelessness Support Service arrived to pick up 300 toys and books for distribution over Christmas.
Monte said the drive, in total, had received more than 877 toys and books donated from people all over the district.
There was a good mix of boys and girls toys, a lot of varying books and some fantastic handmade gifts as well.
Then on Tuesday, 12 adorable students of Stacey and Louise’s KCL Kids donated two huge bags of toys and books.
Each year for the past five to six years they’ve been picking different charities to support from hampers for farmers, to handbags for women and last year the children and staff collected school supplies for children in Vanuatu.
Stacey and Louise heard about the drive on the radio and sent a letter to parents asking to donate new toys and books for the cause.
“The drive ends on Wednesday and hopefully we should have it all out for distribution by Friday.”
Thinking back to all who donated, Monte was overwhelmed with each and every person and businesses generosity.
“It has been incredible. It’s not just the books and new toys, it’s also the amount of handmade teddy bears. There was one lady who donated a bag of 12 hand-knitted dolls, teddy bears and even an octopus.
“The group who usually make toys for the maternity unit in Inverell also donated a heap of knitted bears,” he said.
Centacare donated over $1,000 worth of books to the drive after the chief executive and staff pooled together money for the cause.
Monte estimated the team had received, on a conservative level, around $10,000 worth of books and toys for locals in need.