The Cootamundra Police are giving back to the community with a Christmas toy drive, aimed at making children who are seeking emergency hospital treatment smile this festive season.

Sergeant Jill Gibson has been running this initiative for ten years at various stations throughout the country.

“I have done this for the past ten years wherever I have worked,” she said.

“The toy drive is for the emergency departments, and for the past two years we have been collecting toys and raising money for Cootamundra and Gundagai.”

Sergeant Gibson said that donations are welcome all year round, so that the hospital can provide entertainment to children in need.

“Hopefully these gifts can provide the kids with a change in experience, from something negative to something positive,” she said.

The police welcome donations for children of any age, including fidgets, toys, colouring books, and stickers.

“Fidget toys are great for children in our community that are on the spectrum,” she said.

“The fidgets provide relief for children with autism. They could be spinners, pop its or squishy balls. Things like that.”

Sergeant Gibson said that the Cootamundra police are looking for any items that could bring a smile to a child’s face, especially over Christmas.

“You know those little toys that you want but you don’t have any-one to buy them for? This is where you can do so.”

The response from the Cootamundra community has already been fantastic and monetary donations are also welcome, where members of the local police will purchase more items.

If you wish to donate for the Christmas season, please do so before Christmas eve, when the gifts will be distributed to children at The Cootamundra Hospital.

Commander of the Riverina Police District, Superintendent Andrew Spliet, said that he is impressed with the Cootamundra station’s involvement in the community.

“Sergeant Gibson has a real knack of looking for things that are going to benefit the community and putting the suggestions in place to benefit the community. It is a real quality that she’s got, which is a great thing for the local area,” he said.

There is still time to donate before Christmas, and the Cootamundra police are encouraging the community to continue with their generosity.

Gifts and donations can be dropped off to the Cootamundra Police station directly, on Cooper Street, or the Central Hotel.

Donations are also welcome throughout the year to be distributed to children at the hospital in times of need.

Rebecca More