One family to another

GIVING: John and Velda Atkinson, Hewett, have been delivering books and toys to families in need around Christmas time for more than 10 years.
GIVING: John and Velda Atkinson, Hewett, have been delivering books and toys to families in need around Christmas time for more than 10 years.

Thousands of toys and books have found their way to disadvantaged families thanks to Velda and John Atkinson.

Velda, a Hewett resident, has been delivering toys and books for the Smith Family charity for more than 10 years and says it's her favourite day of the year.

"I have no grandchildren so I have adopted a thousand of them," Velda said.

"That's why toy and book delivery means so much to me and my husband. I look at it as one of my favourite days of the year.

"This is my Christmas Day and I wouldn't miss it for the world.

"We go to the homes and see the smiles on the children's faces when we deliver the toys and books and the parents are also thrilled."

Velda is just one of hundreds of volunteers who will give their time to deliver toys and books to South Australian Children on December 15 this year.

More than 150 vehicles will be loaded up with toy and book packs at Adelaide Showground before setting out to homes across Adelaide to make early Christmas deliveries to children supported through The Smith Family's Learning for Life sponsorship program.

"Last year a parent told me how happy she is with The Smith Family's reading program and how it improved her son," Velda said.

"I encourage all South Australians to support The Smith Family's Christmas appeal to help a child by supporting their education.

"I will keep doing it as long as I can."

The Smith Family is also calling for donations to its Christmas Appeal, which aims to raise more than $1m in South Australia, and $4.3m nationally, to deliver essential out-of-school learning and mentoring programs for disadvantaged students in 2019.

This will provide more than 10,000 children in 2020 with essential learning support and mentoring programs to help them catch up, and keep up, at school, so they can go on to break the cycle of disadvantage.

Australians can help this Christmas by donating, purchasing a toy or book for a child in need, sponsoring a child or donating their time, skills or energy.

For more information on how to donate or volunteer, go to www.thesmithfamily.com.au or call 1800 024 069.