29 December 2022

Christmas comes early for young migrant children of Wagga

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Riverina Police District Inspector Jill Gibson and Superintendent Andrew Spliet with Nathan, Holly, Saher and Shella.

Riverina Police District Inspector Jill Gibson and Superintendent Andrew Spliet with Nathan, Holly, Saher and Shella. Photo: Riverina Police District.

Santa’s helpers dressed in blue have donated nearly 100 Christmas presents to Wagga Multicultural Council.

The gifts were donated to the migrant children as part of Riverina Police District’s toy drive, which received nearly 200 toy donations.

The donations included a remote-controlled mega tyrannosaurus, Barbie dolls, puzzles, board games and Lego.

Inspector Jill Gibson said officers and their families packaged the gifts in a “mammoth wrapping effort”.

A table was set up at the Wagga Wagga Police Station and the donations were piled up into a mountain of toys.

“Everyone was amazing at work, and every day it grew and grew,” Inspector Gibson said.

“It’s been wonderful to see what you can achieve through the community and through your workmates to promote being merry and being giving at Christmas.

“Interactions with police a lot of the time, because of the role we do, can be stressful and seeing the kids’ faces opening it up and the presents coming from us will show that we’re here to be supportive in the community as well as our other core functions.”

Riverina Police District also donated 70 gifts to the local domestic violence service.

Multicultural Council CEO Belinda Crain said when Inspector Gibson told her about giving the children gifts, she said “Abosultely, this is going to be perfect”.

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“We’ve got so many families, new families who are not well off and to be able to give the children presents is fantastic,” Ms Crain said.

“We’ve got a couple of new families here that actually have not had a Christmas in Australia before. I think it’s nice for them to know they’re welcomed, and the community actually cares for them.”

Ms Crain said it was important for the kids to be able to interact with the police and speak to them as normal people.

Ms Crain kept it a secret and did not tell the children they were going to be receiving Christmas gifts.

“I said to them, ‘You’ve got to come to my office, I’m having a surprise’,” Ms Crain said. “And they were so excited.”

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