Children in the Far West are now extra excited for Christmas after receiving early gifts.
Primary school students were gifted with presents before the big day thanks to the Doin it for Rural Aussie Kids charity.
Country music singer Jason Owen, co-founder of the charity with his wife Becy, said the gift appeal creates life-long memories.
“The excitement of these visits and handing out gifts creates wonderful positive memories for children and is often a highlight of their year,” he said.
Jason, 27, visited Menindee Central School and St Therese’s Community School in Wilcannia earlier this week to spread the cheer.
Due to COVID-19 border closures and restrictions, he was unable to complete the planned 10,000km cross country trip.
“It’s really sad that I won’t be able to visit many kids in person like I have done so for the past two years given current restrictions,” Jason said.
“However, we will still be mailing out gifts to all the schools that were on our original list across New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania.”
It’s expected that about 1000 gifts and goods will be received by rural kids and families in need this year.
Doin it for Rural Aussie Kids were awarded $13,000 from several grants and were generously supported by other sponsors to fund the presents.
The former X Factor runner up has also partnered with national bodies like Kids Helpline and the Isolated Children’s Parents Association to spread awareness regarding rural children’s issues.
Jason said this work will help young people open up about any mental health issues which he knows first-hand after his own personal experience.
“I really want rural kids and parents to know that it’s okay to reach out for help if they are struggling with anxiety,” he said.
“When I was eleven, I was involved in a serious motorbike accident alongside my dad. The incident left me with PTSD which I never told anyone about.
“I still struggle with anxiety to this day and wished I had known back then as a kid that it’s better to share your worries, rather than let them fester inside.”
The musician is currently a finalist in the Awards Australia Community Service Awards 2021 in the Leadership category, set to be announced early next year.
To support this year’s appeal, visit www.doinitforruralaussiekids.com.