The HMAS Cerberus Navy Steam Club is putting smiles on the faces of children and families in need this Christmas. Along with the St Vincent De Paul Society, they’re collecting children's toys to brighten up the lives of underprivileged children.
Answering the call for support, the Cerberus Junior Sailors' Welfare Committee donated $1,000 to purchase toys that will be delivered to ‘Vinnies’ in the back of the Steam Club’s 1923 Foden Steam Wagon, before being driven around Victoria.
In 2012 the men and women of Cerberus donated more than 600 toys in support of the ‘Vinnies Christmas Appeal’ valued at around $11,000; this year the goal is deliver at least 1,000 toys and create 1,000 smiles.
Warrant Officer Ian Waller, long standing member of the Navy Steam Club, is a firm believer in supporting the community and encouraging generosity.
“Knowing these presents are going to worthy recipients and appreciated, is wonderful. This also bonds the Cerberus community as we are working together to help others,” WO Waller said.
“A lot of people take Christmas and gift-giving for granted but some people are doing it tough out there. Knowing we can help someone receive something unexpectedly is the best feeling.”
With the $1,000 donation WO Waller is confident they’re on track to reaching their goal, estimating that the money should purchase around 50 toys.
Seaman Desmond Hilton proposed the idea after hearing WO Waller talk passionately about the toy drive. The decision to support was unanimous.
“Every child should be able to grow up with the happiness of waking up Christmas morning to find a special gift just for them. It’s a good feeling to be part of that,” Seaman Hilton said.
“I have three brothers and four sisters. The youngest is 11 and she still gets very excited over Christmas. I look forward to her learning that helping others like this is all part of that Christmas joy.”
Welfare Committee President and mother of two, Leading Seaman Kirsten Dubaj, was happy to make the surprise donation. Leading Seaman Dubaj praised WO Waller’s efforts and explained that money initially raised to improve their own facilities could make a much bigger and better difference to the children and families.
“The excitement on a child’s face when they open a gift, it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s the fact they have something new and it’s magical. Knowing that there are children that will have that now because we help in this small way, that’s amazing,” she said.
Cerberus will continue calling for donations until 8 December when they will load up the Foden Steam Wagon with their happy cargo and prepare for the delivery the following day.
Imagery is available on the Navy Image Library at http://images.navy.gov.au/S20143438.