The HMAS Cerberus Navy Steam Club’s 1923 Foden Steam Wagon made a delivery of a different sort as the club joined forces last week with the St Vincent de Paul Society’s ‘Vinnies Christmas Appeal’.
In spectacular style, the Foden wagon travelled the streets of Melbourne city with their precious cargo of 1,300 children’s toys destined for the joyful hands of Victorian children who otherwise may not have experienced all that Christmas has to offer.
Warrant Officer Ian Waller, Manager of the Navy Steam Club, believes in making a difference to the community. With that thought in mind, Warrant Officer Waller and the members of the club set out to raise awareness and funds in support of the appeal. Having previously supported the appeal in 2012 when 610 toys were delivered, Warrant Officer Waller and his ‘Team Steam’ raised the bar, determined to reach 1,000 toys to be donated in 2014.
The Navy Steam Club rallied the Cerberus community to support Vinnies, hosting stalls to allow easy purchase and encouraging welfare and sporting clubs to give generously. Local retailers agreed to provide heavily discounted toys to the cause.
Warrant Officer Waller said it was a proud day for the Navy Steam Club team as they steamed through the streets of Melbourne.
“I’m always proud of the Steam Club, but delivering these toys is an especially proud moment. We hope we’ve attracted a lot of positive attention for this cause and been able to make a difference in some families’ lives at the same time,” Warrant Officer Waller said.
Cerberus Ship's Warrant Officer, Warrant Officer Brendan Woodsell, said he was pleased see the charity drive surpassed its 1,000 toy goal.
“The Navy has always been a family for our members and their families; we’re a community that supports each other. It’s wonderful to see our Cerberus community lend a hand to Vinnies as they help the Victorian community,” Warrant Officer Woodsell said.
The St Vincent de Paul Society will help more than 500,000 people or families in need across Australia this Christmas. In Victoria alone, the Society’s welfare assistance line has had almost 500 extra calls for support in the last two months in the lead up to Christmas.
St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria State President, Mr Michael Liddy spoke highly of the support given by Cerberus, personally thanking Warrant Officer Waller, his team and local supporters, for their hard work and generosity.
“We’re so delighted to have this support from the HMAS Cerberus Navy Steam Club. Our Christmas gift appeal brings joy to people who are struggling to make ends meet and we couldn’t do that without support like this. It really will make a big difference this Christmas,” Mr Liddy said.
For more information on how to donate to the Vinnies appeal visit http://vinnies.org.au/page/donate/Current_Appeals.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143789.