Christmas cheer: Deputy Mayor Sharyn Cain and Councillor Sheila Paul add to the impressive collection for Operation Christmas Child.

Staff reporter

Hundreds of gifts from the community will bring smiles to children and families throughout the Waimate district this Christmas, thanks to Operation Christmas Child again proving a huge success.

Launched as Mayoress Lyn Stringer’s initiative late last month, the call was put out to help families doing it tough this year, encouraging the community to contribute gifts and get behind the cause.

Within days, the Waimate District Council foyer began filling up, and the generosity of the district was clear to see.

Among the gifts were dozens of handmade offerings, businesses and locals showing their creativity and commitment and doing their part to help spread joy far and wide this Christmas.

Reflecting on the final haul, Ms Stringer said she was overwhelmed with the overall response.

She praised the district for the collective effort.

“This is the third year we’ve run this, and it just seems to be getting bigger and bigger every year.

“Everything helps and once again, this has just been an incredible show of care and support from the wider Waimate district.

“Quite honestly, it brought a tear or two to my eye .. this is all about the kids and bringing some cheer to their day, so to everyone that has donated something for this cause, a sincere and massive thank you to you all made all the difference.”

Waimate Salvation Army co-ordinator Alison Kitchin said she was delighted to see such an outpouring of support throughout the district.

“It’s absolutely amazing and it will certainly make a lot of children and families very happy.

“There is such a great range of gift ideas, from store-bought to vouchers, handmade and everything in between .. there’s a lot of love and joy to go around.”

The Salvation Army would sort the gifts into categories and ensure all families in need received something before Christmas Day.

Ms Stringer said Operation Christmas Child would return in November next year, to help again.

“I’ll keep running this initiative for as long as I’m able to .. it’s something pretty special.”Sports brandsNike