The festive season has been made a little brighter for hundreds of children and young people in care programs across the Latrobe Valley thanks to the generosity of locals who donated to the Bank Australia Berry Street Giving Tree Appeal.
Staff from Bank Australia delivered baskets full of toys and goods to Berry Street's Morwell office where they were sorted ready to be personally delivered by staff to the young people
Berry Street Regional Director, Trish McCluskey, said the gift giving program had become an annual tradition.
"This is the tenth year staff and customers of the community bank have dedicated their gift drive to Berry Street and we are greatly appreciative."
"This year we are seeing increased financial stress on families so this extra support of gifts is absolutely needed. For many young people, Christmas can be a very difficult time of the year. The simple act of personally delivering a gift to them can make a difference in lifting their spirits and showing that people care."
Trish McCluskey said gifts would be provided to foster, kinship and residential care programs. Other struggling families in the Gippsland community would also be supported.
"To see the appreciation of the families who come in at the last minute and can be helped to make Christmas great for their children is gold."
Bank Australia's Lisa Guatta said the gift giving appeal had been embraced by staff and customers at Bank Australia's Moe, Morwell and Traralgon customer service centres.
"It has become more than a tradition for Bank Australia staff who have personally fund-raised through raffles to purchase extra gifts to add to those donated by Bank Australia customers. Others also contributed by donating weekly to a dedicated Berry Street account."
"There is a real recognition that the gifts being donated will go directly to a child or young person in the Latrobe Valley and that's important to local people," she said.
Berry Street's Trish McCluskey and Jane Barr said on behalf of Berry Street they wished to thank all those who donated gifts through Bank Australia.
"We live in a generous, caring and kind community and this is proof of that," Trish said.
Berry Street is the largest independent child welfare organisation in Victoria and assists children, young people and families who have been impacted by family disruption, violence, neglect, abuse, trauma and poverty.
Berry Street's Gippsland Services operates from Morwell and provides services to vulnerable children, young people and families.
For more information on Berry Street visit www.berrystreet.org.au