It's been a challenging year for KidzWish, but thankfully the majority of their programs and services were able to move online or to telehealth, and the much-anticipated free Christmas party was held on schedule - albeit at a different venue.
Only the music and dance programs had to be postponed for some time to adhere to pandemic restrictions, while fundraisers collected donations to ensure digital devices were available to all families who needed to connect with online health and wellbeing programs.
Moving the end-of-year party to Symbio Wildlife Park offered a "different dynamic" than previous years, but still brought about 800 smiling children through the gates on Wednesday.
Chairman Mitchell Henry has been involved with the children's charity for several years and thankful COVID-19 was not the Grinch who stole Christmas.
"It gives me a sense of accomplishment and being able to help and give back to the kids, it's kind of like a warm, fuzzy feeling for me," Mr Henry said of the many happy faces.
"It's been quite a difficult time trying to nut out which direction we're heading, but the team were really able to make it happen."
It was the second Christmas party for Hannah Wilkshire and son Archie, 4, from Kiama.
The family has been using occupational therapy services through the charity for Archie's speech and developmental delays, his mum forever grateful for the support.
Ms Wilkshire said the pandemic gave them a fright about accessing services when the country was locked down, but "everyone pushed through".
"Everyone's been really understanding and I think we're really lucky in this area that we've got away with a lot," she said.
Being able to put on a Christmas party this size after the tumultuous year has been another feat that left her stunned.
"This is an amazing event, this sort of thing, I don't know how they manage it," she said.
For Dexter Heffernan, 9, of Kiama Downs, it was the sixth time his mum Lenice had brought him along for some fun, this year with the added bonus of koalas and kangaroos.
"COVID-19 was massive for us, we couldn't access a lot of services and home schooling with three children - one with a lot of additional needs - it was really, really tough," she said.
"So for the kids to be able to come and have a day like this it's really exciting for them, and it's important they have a lot of fun."
Sally Walker has been volunteering with KidzWish for 10 years, inspired by her late nephew Noah who was an ambassador for the charity.
"His only wish was that all the children could come to the Christmas party," she said.
"I love seeing the children smile and knowing this could be their one and only time to get out, be with other children.
"There's no limits today, it's just about having fun and it could be their one and only gift this year as well."
Noah has sadly passed away, but he would be happy COVID-19 didn't steal Christmas.
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