COLES staff in Laurieton got into the spirit of World Autism Awareness Day again this year.
Staff dressed in blue, made signs, brought balloons, and team members held a morning tea and collection tin fundraising drive which raised just over $725 for Hastings Autism and Aspergers Resource Group (HAAG).
World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognised day on which people around the globe take measures to raise awareness about autism.
The day itself brings people and organisations together to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall awareness.
Each year people are asked to "Go Blue" for the month of April to help raise awareness and funds to help us support people living with autism.
Coles staff member Ashleigh Cameron has a seven year-old son with autism, and for the past few years she has called on her colleagues to support World Autism Awareness Day.
"Today is a big thing for me," Ashleigh said.
"I am proudly wearing blue all day in support of Autism Awareness Day and with the support of my team members, we are raising money for the Hastings Autism and Aspergers Resource Group.
"My son has benefited from their early intervention program and the group holds family days when we can get together and support each other."
Ashleigh's long term goal is to raise awareness about the issues, and get some of the judgement out of the way people deal with autism.
"You can't smack it out of them, which is what people have suggested to me in the past," Ashleigh said.
HAAG is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping families, carers and individuals with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder through all stages of life.
More information is available from their website - www.hastingsautism.org.au, and from the Hastings Autism Op Shop at 1661 Ocean Drive, Lake Cathie.