Big Hearts Deliver Christmas Excitement

Luke Rumbold, Upper Murray Family Care thanks Simone Bowler and Emily Shanahan from Healthfocus Physiotherapy for the donation of gifts for local children. Photo: TruPics

Do we ever grow out of the excitement of seeing presents under the Christmas tree?

Thanks to the generosity of local businesses and organisations, Upper Murray Family Care (UMFC) is helping to make sure our disadvantaged kids and young people don’t miss out on the thrill of seeing gifts under their tree this Christmas.

Among those organisations dropping off toys, hampers or vouchers to UMFC is Healthfocus Physiotherapy. Rather than participate in an annual Kris Kringle with one another, staff members now donate their money and time in selecting gifts for children.

Simone and Emily with some of the donated gifts.

Last year they donated two boxes of toys, and Principal Simone Bowler says the generosity has continued this year with 24 staff members again pitching in.

“The staff really enjoy it,” Simone said.

“I think they feel it’s a much nicer thing to do at Christmas in terms of giving something that’s going to make someone have a happier Christmas.

“It’s also acknowledging that most of us who are in a fortunate position don’t necessarily need to buy something for each other, rather we feel like we’re creating the gift of giving for someone else.

“One of our beautiful administration staff, Shantelle organised a list and allocated all our staff an age appropriate group to buy for, sent that list out and each person chose a gift.”

Simone and her team were also determined to keep their donations local.

There’s plenty of room under the tree for more gifts!

“In the past we’ve donated to more global type organisations, but being a community based organisation we thought we should keep it in the local region.

“We thought Upper Murray Family Care would be a great partner in ensuring we could contribute in a way that is meaningful and help local children have, hopefully, a happier Christmas,” Simone said.

Chief Executive Officer of UMFC, Luke Rumbold says the simple act of donating gifts makes a big difference.

“You’ve only got to talk to our staff who see the faces of the kids when they get these great gifts,” Luke said.

“It’s only a little thing, but gee it makes a great difference.

“It’s also a perfect example of a community in action and as a local organisation our staff get such a morale boost from having local businesses not only say ‘we support your work and encourage you to keep going’ but do so. It’s a tremendous lift.”

The growing list of other organisations and businesses supporting the gift giving include Tots2Teens, Beechworth Uniting Church, One Can, Uniting Care, Wodonga Lions and St John’s Church.

There’s still time for businesses or locals to drop off BIG or small gifts, hampers or vouchers under the Christmas tree at UMFC, 27 Stanley St. Wodonga.

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