Toy Run to deliver Christmas cheer with a difference

READY TO RUN: Sam Swinden, Adam Atkinson, Heath Blok and Velicea Doman will be among hundreds of participants during Saturday's Limestone Coast Toy Run. Picture: MOLLY TAYLOR

By Molly Taylor

THE popular Limestone Coast Toy Run will hit the road Saturday to support the region’s disadvantaged youth with organisers only accepting monetary contributions to reduce unnecessary handling and mitigate COVID-19 risks.

Instead, organisers will use the donations to purchase gifts specifically for each child registered through the charity initiative, which is coordinated by Baptist Care SA.

Last year’s event drew a generous response from regional businesses and community members, with over 500 gifts distributed to over 350 less fortunate children through 16 schools and support agencies.

A convoy of motorcycles and classic vehicles will venture out on Saturday and travel the region before culminating with a parade through Mount Gambier.

Participant Sam Swinden recalled growing up as a Melbourne “street kid” and said he could relate to children who received little at Christmas.

“It is always nice to get something at Christmas when your parents are struggling with money,” Mr Swinden said.

“It is really important the community backs their children, they are the most important things in the world if you ask me.”

Mr Swinden said the event was also a social outlet which brought together broad cross-sections of the community.

“It involves a broad bunch of people and a heap of different genres, different strokes and different folks,” he said.

“You will get guys talking to you all day about your car or bike.”

Preparing for her Toy Run, Velicea Doman believed similar charity events should be held more often.

“I think this type of event should be held more often, rather than just during Christmas, you don’t always have to give gifts, but you can raise money for other causes which give gifts all year round,” she said.

The Toy Run comprises several different routes and meeting points, with the Millicent to Naracoorte convey leaving the Millicent Skatepark on Ridge Terrace at 8am.

The Mount Gambier to Naracoorte route will leave at 8am from the former Bunnings Mount Gambier car park.

The Naracoorte to Mount Gambier route will leave at 10am from the soccer club on Sports Centre Drive.

The main run through Mount Gambier to The Rail will leave the former Bunnings site at 12.30pm.

The event will culminate with a show and shine at The Rail.

Donations can be made by visiting the Baptist Care SA Facebook page, website or contacting the Mount Gambier office directly.

If you would like to request a gift for your child/children please contact Baptist Care SA Limestone Coast regional manager John Merrett at or 0438299732.