Gold Coast charity to make Guinness World Record attempt at longest line of presents for kids in care

A Gold Coast charity will attempt to set a world record this weekend to encourage more people to give presents to children in residential care across south-east Queensland.

Kids in Care founding director Jane Padden came up with an idea to make the annual fundraising event a bit different.

“I looked on Guinness [World Records] and there was no official record for a line of gift-wrapped presents,” Ms Padden said.

But there may be come Saturday at the Upper Coomera Centre if strict rules are met.

“We’ve got to do at least a thousand presents in clear cellophane with bows and Christmas trimmings and then line them up in row,” Ms Padden said.

They will then be officially counted by stewards — with video and photographic proof.

The charity works closely with the Queensland Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs and its nine south-east Queensland regional offices.

“We’ve got a really good relationship with Child Safety,” Ms Padden said.

Planting the seed
It was a chance encounter eight years ago that planted the seed for the charity.

A child safety officer was a customer at Ms Padden’s business and told her a heartbreaking story about having to remove children from their parents two weeks before Christmas.

There was no available foster care, meaning they had to be put in residential care, which sees children subject to statutory intervention placed into specific accommodation with rostered carers 24 hours a day.

There are currently 1,582 children in residential care across Queensland, including 1,075 in the state’s south-east.

“I had no idea this went on,” Ms Padden said.

“I thought, ‘How sad these boys were going into this home and they didn’t have a family with them on Christmas day’.”

Along with fellow rotary club members, she delivered six boxes of presents that Christmas for the kids in residential care.

“The year after we did 64,” Ms Padden said.

After that, the Kids in Care charity was founded, gifting presents every Christmas to children aged 5 to 18, with most in the 12 to 18 year-old bracket.

“We think this is a bit sad, so at Christmas we like to give them a bag full of nice presents,” Ms Padden said.

The charity encourages people to donate presents or cash.