Christmas spirit: Why this manager drove around Sydney to collect 300 toys for a children’s hospital

Coates Hire Westmead

Jeena Joyan, Seanna Robson and Olivia Grey, from Westmead Children’s Hospital, with Antoin ‘Tony’ Farag from Coates Hire. Source: supplied.

The Children’s Hospital at Westmead is home to about 340 children, and when Antoin ‘Tony’ Farag heard about how tough their year has been due to COVID-19, he took it on himself to launch a workplace toy drive.

The branch manager at Coates Hire in the Sydney suburb of Auburn posted a call out for toys on his Facebook page after hearing from his wife Louise, who is a nurse, about the challenges kids faced in hospital this year.

When word spread across the equipment hire company, Farag was soon driving around to Coates branches across Sydney to collect hundreds of donated gifts.

Speaking to SmartCompany, Farag said he was “compelled” to act after learning of the difficulties sick children in hospital have endured because of the pandemic, including only being able to have one visitor at a time.

“We were then compelled to do something. As they say every little bit counts,” Farag says.

Farag drove to 17 Coates Hire branches, from Caringbah in the south to Penrith out west, to collect over 300 gifts for Westmead’s children.

Farag was overwhelmed with the response from his workplace, where he has worked for eight years, saying that he was “proud” of his colleagues’ contribution.

“Everyone stepped up and I can’t believe we were able to donate over 300 gifts to The Children’s Hospital,” he says.

“I’m proud of everyone who chipped in. We have a great culture here at Coates where we support local communities we work in,” he says.

After collecting more than 300 toys, Farag visited the children’s hospital on Thursday to give the donations to the hospital staff.

“The children are in the best possible hands. We just wanted to do our part to help provide some cheer on Christmas morning.”

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