Bobby’s first birthday present: the gift of giving

Dianella mother, Alwynn Hynes, wanted to give her son, Bobby, something special for his first birthday, something he could reflect on in later life as an event that helped shape the person he would become. That birthday present was the ‘gift of giving’.

In March 2018, Alwynn created a Facebook group in the hope of motivating a small group of friends to collect baskets of food and other essential items for Perth people doing it tough. That small group of friends soon swelled to hundreds, and in May, Alwynn and her friends delivered their first load of donated goods to UnitingCare West’s (UCW) Victoria Park office – more than 40 baskets, backpacks and laundry hampers full of food, baby items, cooking utensils, sleeping bags, back to school packs, cleaning products and much more.

That was just the beginning, with support continuing to grow as people were inspired to pitch in and lend a hand.

Fast forward to Monday 16 June, the day of Bobby’s first birthday. It would be a  special day not only for one little boy, but for the supporters of Alwynn’s project and all UnitingCare West staff. Five cars arrived in convoy, packed with donated goods. One by one, staff members, touched by the spectacle taking place before them, emerged from the office to roll up their sleeves and help unpack. This load more than doubled the May donation, with another 140 baskets going to UCW’s Merriwa service centre.

Alwynn said it was her hope that through projects like this, her generation can spark a flame among young people to give back and get involved in their communities.

“It’s more about creating a new generation where people look outside themselves and care just as much about the act of giving as the act of receiving,” Alwynn said.

“If we as parents give more, then our kids are going to learn from that.”

Amanda Hunt, UnitingCare West CEO, said the effort and thought that had gone into planning and making this project come together was truly inspirational.

“When you get people together and achieve what you’ve done, which is to absolutely show love for people doing it tough, that makes a huge difference. Community really is the answer and  Bobby will have a wonderful message to take with him in life,” Amanda said.

Find Alwynn’s project on Facebook at ‘Christmas in July – Gift a Basket 2018’.

John Cooke

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