Melbourne turned on a sunny day recently to accompany a special delivery of toys destined to brighten Christmas day for hundreds of children on Christmas morning.
Longs standing member of the HMAS Cerberus Navy Steam Club, Warrant Officer Ian Waller, is a strong advocate for supporting people in need and feels Christmas is an especially important time to reach out. Over the last four years, under the encouragement of Warrant Officer Waller, the men and women of Cerberus have donated more than 2,500 toys to the St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal.
On the way to delivering their precious cargo of more than $7,500 of toys, the club's 1923 Foden Steam Wagon trundled along the streets of Melbourne city to the delight and surprise of pedestrians and motorists, spreading festive cheer.
"Every child deserves to wake up Christmas morning and feel the rush of tearing open a gift or two," Warrant Officer Waller said.
"The people of Cerberus take great pride in reaching into their pockets each year to bring together a collection of toys that will brighten the day of someone doing it tough.
"Delivering these toys in the Foden brings great attention to the cause, as well as a smile to faces young and old.
"Plus navigating across town in a steam wagon built for roads in the 1920's, full to the brim, is quite a thrill for us too."
This year the steam wagon had the honour of launching the 2015 Christmas Appeal, which calls for financial donations to support people in need across Victoria.
St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria State President, Mr Micheal Liddy, presented a certificate of appreciation to Cerberus and the club for supporting the Christmas Appeal and helping to restore hope.
"Sadly, Christmas can be a stressful juggling act for many people, as they struggle to pay their bills, put food on the table, put petrol in the car and find time for their loved ones too," he said.
"The notion of buying gifts for their children or preparing a special Christmas meal is often completely out of reach.
"We are overwhelmingly appreciative of the community's ongoing support and would like to offer our most sincere thanks to the Navy Steam Club and HMAS Cerberus for their generous gifts."
In the 2014-2015 financial year, the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria provided over $10.5 million worth of assistance and over 250,000 meals to people in need across the state.