An impromptu conversation at footy training between a CareSouth foster carer in Goulburn and a Ray White Principal, Justin Gay, sparked the idea for the Little Ray of Giving campaign.
The campaign – to provide Christmas gifts to more than 50 children and young people in Goulburn’s Out-of-Home-Care program - galvanised the tight-knit community to dig deep and show their generosity of spirit.
Ray White team member Jess Grashorn, who worked closely with the Goulburn OOHC team to ensure children and young people received age-appropriate, practical gifts, said real estate staff collected, wrapped and tagged more than 80 gifts donated by the community and placed them under the office’s Christmas tree to be distributed.
“We worked closely with the OOHC team, who know the kids best, so we could give gifts that they would really enjoy,” said Jess.
CareSouth’s Goulburn staff then delivered the gifts to the 54 children and young people in the Out-Home-Care program and their family members.
Regional Manager Southern NSW/ACT Tracy Mayo said the Little Ray of Giving campaign was a wonderful initiative.
“I was really overwhelmed and grateful to the community who donated,” said Tracy.
“The Goulburn community are really generous and it was so heartening to see, especially at Christmas when so many people are doing it tough. We are just so grateful that we live and work in such a supportive community. I was really proud that the team initiated it all.”
Goulburn Out-of-Home-Care acting team leader Jennifer Toms said distributing the gifts to the children and young people was a highlight for caseworkers.
“The kids were overwhelmed and so happy,” said Jennifer. “Ray White collected 80 presents, all beautifully wrapped and placed under the Ray White Christmas tree. There were lots of gift cards for the teenagers and age-appropriate gifts for the younger children. Aldi from Goulburn also donated some gifts for the carer families.”
“The kids loved it,” said OOHC senior caseworker Darren Harding. “And the carers were really surprised and grateful.”
OOHC caseworker Stacy Lee said: “I took a young person down to Ray White and the young person said ‘wow how lovely are these people’.”
“The quality of gifts was outstanding,” said Pamela Woodmore, supervised contact worker and administration officer.
Goulburn OOHC staff are hopeful that the Little Ray of Giving campaign will become a Christmas tradition.
“We can’t thank Ray White enough, it’s times like these when communities come together that makes our jobs worth it,” said Jennifer.