A group of local residents from Parkes Shire Council's Sister City, the City of Canada Bay, shared the gift of joy over Christmas with more than $40,000 worth of toys and sporting goods donated to drought affected families in the Parkes Shire.
The group of Italian men, who first met more than 20 years ago over a beer at Five Dock Hotel, have run the annual Christmas appeal for close to two decades, donating new toys, gifts and sporting equipment to children in need.
"It's wonderful to see our local Italian community continue to join in the true spirit of Christmas and extend a show of support to our family and friends in rural and regional Australia who are doing it tough," City of Canada Bay Mayor and Local Government NSW Vice President Angelo Tsirekas said.
"We are pleased to link the appeal up with our Sister City, Parkes Shire Council, and hope the new toys will help keep the magic of Christmas alive for children in the country this year."
Parkes Shire Mayor Ken Keith OAM joined City of Canada Bay Mayor and Local Government NSW Vice President Angelo Tsirekas to accept the gifts in Drummoyne on Friday.
"Parkes has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with our friends at Canada Bay," Cr Keith said.
"The generosity of the Canada Bay community will be warmly welcomed by the Parkes Shire community who are doing it tough in this relentless drought."
Parkes Mayor Ken Keith OAM mentioned the donation at Parkes Shire Council's December 17 meeting when informing his fellow Councillors he was attending Canada Bay's mayoral Christmas lunch on December 20.
"I asked them if they needed me to bring the car down to bring back the gifts and they said 'there's too many, we'll be freighting them'," he said.
Direct Freight Express delivered the gifts to Parkes free of charge on December 23, where they were distributed by the local St Vincent de Paul Society, whose volunteers work tirelessly to ensure those experiencing disadvantage can have an enjoyable Christmas.
"Thanks to Direct Freight Express Managing Director and Founder Joe Catania, as well as his entire team for their generosity this Christmas season," Mayor Tsirekas said.