Sydney woman’s sweet gesture sparks joy for children in lockdown

Plush Canada UncategorizedSydney woman’s sweet gesture sparks joy for children in lockdown

An "avid collector" who passed away in May this year, has left a stunning legacy of joy, and hope after the dozens of plush toys she purchased over the years are now being put out on the street for children to collect during lockdown. The initiative known as Joy Bears began a few weeks ago, as Sydney entered its second harsh lockdown. Leaving brand new bears and plush toys around the local lower North Shore Sydney community with inspiring messages in hygienic ziplock bags, Liz Wise — one of the organisers of the drive — tells 9Honey the plan is simply "to make children feel supported during lockdown. READ MORE: Canberra town’s sweet weekly gesture connecting community during COVID: ‘It’s sort of my highlight’ "The second lockdown is a harder situation, because all of us have massive resilience fatigue in terms of coping with this," she explains. "During the first lockdown the pandemic was brand new and we had this sense of community and togetherness — but now we’re seeing folks exhausted and they’re just trying survive." Wise was made redundant two weeks ago, after working in the corporate sphere for decades. RELATED: Delivery driver’s sweet gesture labelled ‘modern-day love story’ for woman having a bad day Motivated to spread joy and "give back to the community", she helped her friend Lisa repurpose some of the items her mother had collected after she passed away in May. Wise says her friend’s mum was a "community-minded kind of woman" and always "bought things that would bring joy to people around her." "Her daughter started putting bears out in the street where she lives around the start of lockdown so I got in contact to help and began posting in local community groups to tell people where the bears would be." In an Instagram post on the Joy Bears page, the initiative explains, "we come from a deceased estate but are brand new. Instead of going to landfill, we’d love a second chance at life to bring joy to a child who’ll love us." "All of these bears are brand new… Instead of being tossed into landfill, we’re putting them in sealed bags and distributing them around Sydney’s lower north shore for kids to find and adopt." Wise confirms the brand new toys are distributed by people who have tested negative for coronavirus and wrapped in ziplock for safe pick up. The plush packages come with sweet, inspiring messages to their new owner to simply "take me home and be my friend." As a mother of one, Wise says children have been feeling increasingly "isolated and alone," in the second lockdown. "The idea is just to bring happiness to kids," she shares, noting, "they’re taking a beating in terms of their mental health — for the little ones, it’s pretty tough." "Friendships, social engagement is so important for their psychological development and it will affect the way they bond in their adult lives." While the plush care packages were initially created to make children smile, Wise says Joy Bear has received kind responses from people of all age groups. "We’ve had so many messages of support and gratitude from all kinds of people," she shares. "One woman who recently lost her dog told us she picked up one of the packages and saw it as a sign that she found another small, fluffy thing ready for its forever home." "It’s not just kids, it’s for everyone that needs more happiness right now." Hoping the Joy Bears initiative kicks off a trend across communities in lockdown, Wise says the pandemic has proved to be a universally challenging time. "It’s on us to create as much connection and community as possible, and to do that within the limitations of the public health order," she shares "I hope it gives kids something to look forward to, parents a reason to get out of the house and families to do something together." For a daily dose of 9Honey, sign up here to receive our top stories straight to your inbox Toyota’s net profit soared more than fivefold in the first quarter as strong sales were fuelled by the recovery from the coronavirus crisis, but the firm left its annual forecast unchanged citing "uncertainties" ahead. The world’s top-selling automaker has bounced back quicker than its competitors from the impact of Covid-19 lockdowns, reclaiming the top spot for sales last year. The Japanese giant has also so far weathered a global chip shortage that has forced rivals to slash production targets, although it is now facing some disruption. For the three months to June, Toyota logged a 897.8 billion yen ($8.2 billion) net profit — a record for the first quarter, and up from 158.8 billion yen in the same period last year. Sales surged 72.5 percent to 7.9 trillion yen. "The first-quarter results were the result of our maintaining… stable sales and supply, despite the semiconductor shortage and spread of Covid-19," the firm said in a statement. But it maintained its full-year net profit forecast at 2.3 trillion yen, warning of "uncertainties in and after the second quarter". Last week, Toyota said group global sales hit a record high for the six months to June, thanks to healthy demand for its Highlander and Camry models in the United States and Corolla and Lexus brands in China. "Toyota has sustained its strong performance," said Satoru Takada, an auto analyst at Tokyo-based research and consulting firm TIW. The firm "has a good chance of retaining the crown of the world’s number one carmaker", Takada told AFP before the results were released. – Chip shortage – In June, Toyota temporarily suspended operations at two domestic plants because of the global chip crunch, with a third short hiatus currently underway at a separate factory. Microchips are essential for the electronics systems of modern cars, and have been in short supply since the end of last year. When the pandemic hit, carmakers worldwide scaled back orders, so chipmakers shifted output to consumer electronics as people splurged on equipment to work and relax at home. That left automakers in a tight situation as demand returned, with many slowing or even temporarily halting production. "Semiconductor supplies are expected to remain tight at least until next year, because the global economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic should further boost chip demand in many sectors," said Yasuo Imanaka, chief analyst at Rakuten Securities. "On top of the semiconductor shortage, the impact of the spread of the Delta strain of the coronavirus on both sales and production in Asia is a potential risk for Toyota," Takada added. Analysts are also focusing on the recent shift to electric vehicles among leading automakers, driven by growing concerns over emissions. Toyota, which pioneered hybrid cars, has announced plans for its first global line-up of battery electric vehicles, as other carmakers have pulled ahead in electrification. In early July, rival Nissan unveiled plans to build a massive battery factory in northeastern England, where it will also manufacture a new electric vehicle. Last week, Nissan upgraded its annual outlook, projecting a return to the black for the current fiscal year. si/kaf/dan The government is expected to soon roll out the Covid vaccinations to 16 and 17-year-olds. About 1.4 million teenagers in that age group will be encouraged to be inoculated before they return to schools and colleges in September, in a move that the government could announce this week. The change is expected to be approved as early as Wednesday, The Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail reported. The government has delayed the move until ministers see more evidence in favour of vaccinating young people. The change in guidance is expected now that scientific advisers in the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have reportedly submitted their updated advice to Downing Street. The decision would come two weeks after the JCVI had recommended that children should not be routinely offered the jabs. But the four chief medical officers across the UK have written to the JCVI asking them to look again at their advice. The JCVI has, so far, ruled out blanket vaccination of healthy children. But existing guidance states that those aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions should have already been offered a jab. Children aged 12 to 15 with certain conditions that make them vulnerable to a serious infection of Covid-19 can also get vaccinated, as can those aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person. The US has already begun vaccinating under-18s, alongside the UAE, Israel, Japan, Singapore, China, Canada, Indonesia, and the Philippines. About 20 countries in the EU are already vaccinating them or have planned to do so in the near future, according to reports last month. The Scottish first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, said she was “veering towards expecting” that the JCVI would soon outline updated guidance for young people having the coronavirus jab. Speaking to MSPs on Tuesday, she had suggested the decision could come as soon as Wednesday. She said: “We are waiting on JCVI advice. When I say ‘we’, I am obviously referring to the Scottish government – but the UK, Welsh and Northern Irish governments are in the same position.” Ms Sturgeon has called for children as young as 12 to be eventually offered the vaccine. Labour has urged the government to plan the roll-out to teenagers following suggestions that the JCVI was about to approve the move. The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “With the JCVI apparently about to give the green light to vaccinating 16-year-olds, ministers need to ensure plans are in place to roll out this vital next stage of vaccination while ensuring parents have all the facts and information they need.” Latest research shows that full vaccination offers 90 per cent protection against hospitalisation and death, as well as the reduction in transmissions. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson has declined to confirm whether children will be routinely vaccinated, adding that it will be kept “under review”. From news to politics, travel to sport, culture to climate – The Independent has a host of free newsletters to suit your interests. To find the stories you want to read, and more, in your inbox, click here .

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