16 November 2023

Spread the joy: Wagga Wagga Police Station's festive toy drive returns

| Shri Gayathirie Rajen
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Wagga Wagga Base Hospital emergency department patient experience office Janelle, Riverina Police District Inspect Jill Gibson, Elf Ellie, Wagga Wagga Base Hospital acting nurse manager Emma.

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Emergency Department Patient Experience Officer Gennelle Mills, Riverina Police District Inspector Jill Gibson, Elf Ellie and Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Acting Nurse Manager Emma Daisley prepare for the toy drive. Photo: Shri Gayathirie Rajen.

Santa’s helpers dressed in blue are set to help him bring joy to children again this year.

Wagga Wagga Police Station is organising its annual toy drive to collect unopened toys and colouring items for local kids in need.

Riverina Police District Inspector for Community Engagement Jill Gibson said Wagga Wagga Base Hospital’s emergency department (ED) had been included in this year’s toy drive.

“They work tirelessly over the Christmas period, 24/7, just like us,” said Insp Gibson.

“No one wants to end up in hospital on Christmas Day, and having some toys here [at the hospital] hopefully for Christmas Day and into the future will be fantastic.

“We are also still supporting our new arrivals, our refugee community and our domestic violence refuges as well.”

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Inspector Gibson said community members who wished to donate toys or money could do so by popping down to the Wagga Police Station.

“We are looking for balls, colouring pencils, bubble-blowing stimming devices, Barbie, horses, Care Bears, Transformers, little Poppets or squishy things … whatever you want to buy,” she said.

“This is your opportunity to go out and find something fun you wish you got as a kid or if you don’t have anyone to buy for this year.

“Drop the toys off at the station, and you will make someone’s Christmas.”

Inspector Gibson has been involved in a toy drive at every station she has been posted at for the past decade.

Wagga Wagga Base Hospital Acting Nurse Manager Emma Daisley said the toy drive initiative was a ‘great idea’.

“I never heard of it until Jill reached out to me a month ago,” Ms Daisley said.

“ED patient experience officer Janelle and I were already talking about things we could do for the kids … some distraction things. ED can be scary when you’re a kid and we don’t have anything we can give them.

“It [toy drive] can help those mums and dads settle their kids, especially over Christmas.”

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Also helping out with this year’s toy drive is Riverina Police District’s Special Constable Edgar E Elf’s third cousin, thrice removed, Ellie.

“Edgar got promoted, and he’s sending Ellie. She’s a lovely girl, arrived early, and will have her photo taken soon,” Insp Gibson said.

“She’s going to go into a little bit of hibernation. There’s a bit of jetlag after coming from the North Pole. Afterwards, Ellie will get prepared for the Christmas season.

“She’ll start posting on 1 December, and we’ve already got her coming down to see how the hospital runs, going out and working with Meals on Wheels as well as the regular safety messages she wants to do.

“Ellie is excited about working with Riverina PD [police district].

Wagga police distributed more than 200 gifts donated to the 2022 toy drive.

Members of the community who wish to donate toys or money can do so by visiting the Wagga Police Station until Christmas Eve.

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