Yarloop children to get 'magical day' as Christmas comes again for bushfire victims

ANGELS must be real, for in the aftermath of bushfires which devastated Yarloop, one woman looks set to perform a miracle by bringing Christmas to the children who lost everything.

It’s a big ask, but Coolup’s Toni Dodd – with a small army of helpers – is planning on bringing joy to the faces of up to 130 children at an event planned for April.

“It started when I was talking to my boys about children in Yarloop losing everything,” Ms Dodd said.

“My four-year-old said, “Isn’t Santa going to bring them their presents?”.

“He told me to ring him on my phone and tell him he needs to bring new presents.”

That was all it took for Ms Dodd to set about creating “a second Christmas” for the children of Yarloop.

She set up a Facebook page – Christmas for the Yarloop children – which now has more than 2,500 members, and the donations started rolling in.

The plan is for every child from Yarloop, and any child who lost their home in the fires, to receive gifts – at least four or five, according to Ms Dodd, at a free, all-day event on April 10.

“We’re planning a magical day for them all to give them something back,” Ms Dodd said.

“No one will be missing out; we’ll be making sure of that.”

So far donations of new toys have come from all over the state, with a number of drop-off points organised for Ms Dodd, who has a licence to fundraise on behalf of the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund, to pick up.

Lego is topping the list for donated items, with sporting gear also popular.

Wish-lists provided by many of the children who lost their Christmas presents have been proving helpful in making sure each one leaves the event with a smile on their face.

Donations of new items only are still being accepted.

Ms Dodd said they were seeking more toys for boys and teenagers as the event draws closer.

Anyone wishing to help can get in touch with Ms Dodd on 0408 925 800.

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