MERCURY SERIES - Making A Difference
The Rotary Club of Dapto and the Ray White real estate office on the Princes Highway have teamed up to give Dapto its own Giving Tree.
Father of four boys Daniel Norris, and mother of five boys Anne McQueen are two of the key drivers behind the initiative to help children from less fortunate families in the area.
Mr Norris is the licensee of Ray White Dapto and jumped at the opportunity when he heard about the association the Ray White Group in Australia had with Rotary International.
He immediately approached Mrs McQueen, president of Dapto Rotary, who wasted no time approaching St Vincent de Paul Society Dapto Conference president Brian Brennan.
"I knew that St Vincent's do hampers for families and presents for children in the local area and he was a very happy man because he is always scratching for presents," she said.
Mr Brennan could not hide his excitement or gratitude because he knew how much the gesture would help people in the Dapto area this Christmas.
"Last year we distributed 135 hampers and 235 children got toys from us for Christmas," he said.
"That was a record for us. "
Mr Brennan said St Vincent de Paul would now be able to reach many more local people this Christmas.
He said in the past members of Curves Dapto and a local church congregation had donated directly to the Care and Support Centre but Ray White Dapto and Rotary were giving other members of the community an opportunity to help.
"This is wonderful. It will help more people in need in the area to see they are not alone," he said.
Mr Brennan said 1500 people a year visited the centre for help and the need was growing.
Mr Norris bought the business just over a year ago and has been keen to support and be part of the community.
"We do a lot for local charities but this is our big thing for December," he said.
Mr Norris said when his four boys opened their presents on Christmas morning he would spare a thought for all those who did not have as much as his family.
He said he would also think about all the children who were able to receive a present thanks to generous locals, including his staff who had made up gift cards to attach to donated presents for the Dapto Giving Tree.
"I would love to see the whole front foyer of this office full of toys and presents from people in Dapto," he said.
"Our staff have already brought in presents themselves."
St Vincent de Paul will do a major distribution on December 20 so Ray White Dapto would like to collect as many donations as possible by December 19.