A decade ago, Ross and Lyn Sharkey initiated a campaign in Cowra, collecting toys for the Salvation Army, igniting a tradition that continues to thrive.
As they mark the 10th year of the "Caring for Cowra" tradition, Lyn, along with Stephen Haslam, is thrilled to carry forward this meaningful cause.
In 2013, Lyn Sharkey and her husband, the late Ross, began a campaign to assist the Salvation Army in Cowra by collecting toys for the children of Cowra.
Since 2019, Stephen has joined with Lyn to follow on the tradition and in the 10th year they are excited to continue the Caring for Cowra tradition.
"The response from people in Cowra who come in and just drop off gifts, saying 'well if I can help someone' is just outstanding," Lyn Sharkey said.
"Every year it just keeps getting bigger and bigger."
Lyn emphasised the importance of their role as a central point for donations, allowing the Salvation Army to focus on their crucial work.
"It's helping families at this time of year, because even though Christmas is a happy holiday, it can also be a tough and sad one as well," she said.
Lyn also highlighted the significance of maintaining confidentiality in the program to ensure support reaches those truly in need.
"The impact is something that can't really be measured," Lyn said.
Jodie McInnes, a soldier with the Salvation Army, expressed gratitude for the community's support, revealing the agency's dedication to aiding families in need.
"We have 120 families registered this year for assistance," Ms McInnes said.
"There's also agencies where people don't want to come in and register, so we're also working with some agencies to distribute the donations better."
Ms McInnes stressed the importance of breaking down barriers and stigmas surrounding seeking help.
"There is no embarrassment in seeking help," Ms McInnes said.
She emphasised the personalised and specific approach taken by agencies to cater to each family's unique needs.
Lisa Pangas, a customer service representative at Service NSW, said it was an honour contributing to such a heart warming initiative.
"We are really honoured to be able to contribute towards such a wonderful initiative, as we know how much this will help the Cowra community," Ms Pangas said.
"Thank you to Lyn and Cowra Real Estate for the amazing Christmas kindness that you show year in and year out, and thank you for letting Service NSW be apart of this alongside you."
The Salvation Army, Cowra Real Estate, and Service NSW are working hard to keep the Christmas spirit going.
Donations can be made at the Cowra Real Estate or Service NSW offices in Cowra until December 15, ensuring that the spirit of kindness continues.
The donations provide hope, happiness and pride to the Cowra community as everybody comes together to assist the families that have fallen on hard times.