Gifts of hope: annual toy giveaway for refugee children
Toys are piled high on tables. There is a sense of anticipation in the air as Spectrum staff stand ready to welcome families. And Zina, the balloon twister, has her balloons laid out in preparation to craft all sorts of animals. It is the calm before the storm in the moments before we open the door for our annual toy giveaway for refugee families.
It’s Wednesday at our Dallas office and the first family arrives. The children are hesitant at first; the choice is overwhelming. But they warm to the Spectrum staff who guide them to age-appropriate toys, while mum browses the clothing that has been generously donated by Cotton On / Factorie.
The children change their minds (several times) before settling on the toys (one big, one small) that they will finally take home. The children wave goodbye, just as another family arrives. And so it goes on for the next few hours.
On Thursday, we repeat the process at our Sunshine office. This time, Zina is joined by Santa (Nader from Spectrum’s Migration team) who proves to be just as popular with the children. The smiles and laughter of the children are heart-warming and infectious.
Now in its eighth year, the Spectrum Toy Giveaway has given over a thousand children the opportunity to choose a toy – for some, it will be the first brand new toy they have ever received. While many of our clients do not celebrate Christmas, the timing of the Toy Giveaway coincides with the end of the school term, so the new toys provide opportunities for play during the holiday period.
With the cost of living pressures hitting families hard, the Toy Giveaway helps to bring joy to those who need it most – newly arrived refugees. Many have fled war-torn countries, seeking safety and refuge. Some arrive in the country with very few belongings.
The Toy Giveaway is also a wonderful opportunity for others in the community to show their compassion and empathy for newly arrived refugees; all the toys, clothing, shoes and toiletries have been donated by individuals, schools, and businesses.
Ultimately, the Toy Giveaway is not just about the toys; it is a symbol of unity and shared humanity. It’s about building bridges, fostering understanding, and creating a sense of belonging for those seeking refuge and hope.
Our Toy Giveaway would not be possible without the generosity of our supporters and donors. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who donated toys and other goods, including:
- Christopher Stenton from the Refugee and Asylum Seeker Toy Drive
- Cana Catholic Primary School
- Christ Church Grammar School
- Cotton On / Factorie
- Frank Body
- Operation Stitches
- Primary Connect
- Sack of Gifts
and many, many others.