FESTIVE cheer was on show as children's charity Variety held their annual toy drive at McDonald Jones stadium on Wednesday.
Usually taking place inside the stadium, Variety had to "pivot" the event last year to suit COVID guidelines.
"Families and kids now come through in their cars and get the free gifts. They still get to enjoy the magic and joy but in a COVID safe way," Variety CEO Vanessa Barry said.
"This year has been a challenge for a lot of kids and families so bringing joy is even more important than usual. It's all about the magic of the festive season and is the bright point at the end of the year for a lot of kids."
The "Xmas Toy Drive-Thru" was a chance for kids experiencing sickness, disadvantage or disability to receive a free gift and in the process enjoy some of the onsite entertainment including roving characters, Santa, a DJ, "postie" bikes and Variety Bash cars.
Tori O'Brien, with eight-year-old Akashya and five-year-old Anna in the car, said the toy drive is a good way to end a tough year.
"The kids missed school and appointments this year, I missed my wedding. Events like this day are important and make the kids happy," she said.
Jacob and Daniel Saifiti of the Newcastle Knights were also there handing out gifts with some of team's cheerleaders. Akashya said of all the roving entertainers at the event the cheerleaders were here favourite.
"When I saw them I almost cried because I was so excited," she said.
Variety estimated there to be 400 cars through the event with over 1000 children receiving gifts.
Also at the event were volunteers from Woolworths stores across the region handing out gift bags of produce donated by the company.
"We've got a few bits of fruit, a bottle of water and some little snacks and chocolates for about 1150 kids," Brad Marriott of Greenhills Woolworths said.
"I've got three kids myself and if they ever needed the support from Variety it's nice to know there's these kind of community events happening."
One mother at the event told the Newcastle Herald that doing it as a drive-through made the process easier than usual.
"Because my son is in a wheelchair most events with crowds can be a bit stressful for him," she said.
"This event is so good because he has been able to focus on just having an amazing time."
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