Christmas delivery for those doing it tough
CRUISING around in a van brimming with donated gifts and school supplies, Peter and Karen Croke are on a mission to help families and individuals, including those across the North Burnett.
They are members of a group that has grown from a handful of members to more than 400, providing tens of thousands of items to take the edge off what can be a stressful time of year, psychologically and physically, for at-risk people.
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"We're called Knitting for Brisbane's Needy (K4BN), but these days it's just a name," Mr Croke said.
Recently, they delivered a consignment of toiletries, toys and school supplies to IWC, which operates across Bundaberg and the Wide Bay Burnett.
The donated items will be distributed throughout the coming weeks and months to people in need.
"These donations are very welcome in our region," said IWC North Burnett assistant manager Cynthia George.
"It allows us to families who may be doing it tough, especially around return-to-school time in the new year."
IWC is an Aboriginal community-controlled organisation that offers services and programs to all people, indigenous, non-indigenous, from all walks of life.
The Crokes' delivery also included small hand-knit Christmas stockings, stuffed with lollies to be handed out by IWC team members.
"These are great for trees, and they are made with real warmth of heart at this special time of year," Mrs George said.
"The generosity of Karen and Peter Croke is just one example of the strong community spirit that drives positive transformation in our regions."
The Crokes' journey started in 2006, when the charitable operation was established near Scarborough in Southeast Queensland.
"There are lovely communities we help out at Warwick, Cherbourg, Roma, Cooktown, Longreach - we go wherever the need is, not the want," Mr Croke said.
"If we can't get there, we'll get the items there.
"All our stuff stays in Australia, and we give to organisations that can get it to those who need it, like IWC, which has a very good name, even down in Brisbane we're talking about the work that IWC does."
Each year the number of donated items grows - in 2017 alone, K4BN distributed 52,500 items to those in need.
To date, more than 515,000 items have been distributed by the group, including toys, school supplies, clothes and toiletries.
"The reward in it for us is getting to see peoples' reactions, particularly the kids," Mr Croke said.