WHAT'S ON

Helping out rural kids

CHRISTMAS CHEER: Country music singer and founder of Doin' It for Rural Aussie Kids, Jason Owen, is calling for nominations for this year's Christmas toy drive.
CHRISTMAS CHEER: Country music singer and founder of Doin' It for Rural Aussie Kids, Jason Owen, is calling for nominations for this year's Christmas toy drive.

After its success last year, "Doin' It for Rural Aussie Kids" is looking to lend a hand to regional families again this Christmas.

The charity, founded by country music singer Jason Owen and his fiance Becy in 2019, hosts an annual Christmas toy drive for families in need, as well providing further donations and back to school packs.

Mr Owen said they are putting the call out once again this year, with nominations open as of November 1.

"I grew up in the Central West, in Albert, only a little town of 12 people and since my career took off in 2012, I've always wanted to do something for rural Australia," he said.

"I thought the best thing I can possibly do is potentially do something for Christmas last year, which turned out to be such a big success so we started Doin' It for Rural Aussie Kids.

"Last year, we got out to over 200 children for Christmas, which was just amazing. Now we want to launch it again for 2020 and we're asking for nominations."

To nominate your own family or someone you know, simply email doinitforruralaussiekids@gmail.com with the family's names, ages, address, contact phone number and a brief story.

All information provided is strictly confidential.

"We're just there for a helping hand," Mr Owen said.

"Also this year, for the majority of the families selected, we are doing a few hundred dollar grocery shop for them, and all the groceries will be bought in rural businesses."

Mr Owen said he expects this year's Christmas toy drive to be even bigger.

"We're expecting it to be a lot bigger this year, we've got some major sponsors on board this year, we've already raised so much money, which is just fantastic," he said.

"The little charity started last year and it's actually blown right out this year. It's looking to double, if not triple on last year.

"People this year have been very welcoming and open-armed to support the charity in whatever way they can," he said.

Mr Owen said the charity will also be hosting a fundraising Mystery Ride and Music Evening in conjunction with Central West Riders.

The ride will start at 10am on Saturday, November 21 at Robertsons Motorcycles in Dubbo and finish at the Wongarbon Hotel, with proceeds going towards Doin' It For Rural Aussie Kids.

Mr Owen will also be releasing a cover of John Lennon's "So This Is Christmas", featuring children from the toy drives.

"We've got some kids from last year singing on the song," he said.

"It's a real tearjerker that's for sure."

Nominations for this year's toy drive will close in early December.

"The affects of this drought, they are going to come for many years to come so we want people to know we are here for them and their children," Mr Owen said.

"If you need a helping hand for Christmas, please nominate."