You might remember that in November 2019 well known local artist Terry Jarvis and partner Michelle Kent put together an art exhibition ”Life on the Land – our Farming Heroes” in the iconic Bendigo Town Hall. The Rotary Club of Bendigo supported Terry and Michelle in this endeavor and all funds raised from the exhibition and sale of paintings were channeled via the Rotary Club’s ‘Life on the Land – Drought Relief Appeal’ to be distributed to drought-affected communities.
Thanks to Terry and Michelle’s hard work and enthusiasm, this event raised just over $40,000.00. A fantastic donation of $20,000.00 was made by Gulf Horizons Foundation in conjunction with Flashmarket and EyeCandy Motorsports, along with the support of other generous local donors including Fosterville Gold Mine, City of Greater Bendigo (town hall) and patrons who attended the exhibition. Special mention to the kids at Strathfieldsaye Primary School who held their own fund-raising event and donated all funds to Life on the Land.
Making the most of our Rotary networks we can report that these funds have been greatly appreciated by regional communities both locally and interstate.
For example the combined Rotary Clubs of Mildura supporting the Millewa/Werrimul drought affected district distributed $200 Woolworths food vouchers to farming families. They also distributed hygiene products to school children at Werrimull School which included a voucher for new shoes. Garry Kippell, the Assistant District Governor for Rotary in Sunraysia said, “We cannot express the appreciation for the farming families, but can assure you your support will be invaluable to them all.”
On a more local note the East Loddon Foodshare Program team based at Dingee produced 217 grocery hampers with groceries purchased locally at the Lockington Foodworks, from funds provided by this project. These hampers were distributed to local CFA brigades and Salvos for distribution to families in need. President of the East Loddon Foodshare program, Leanne Welsh, said “I really can’t thank you enough for your funding. It breaks my heart to see the devastation caused by this drought. I love that we can do something to help. Together, we can make a difference.”
The largest distribution of $20,000.00 went to the Rotary Club of Cobar and was used to fund a truck load of hay for distribution to farmers in the Central NSW area. With this funding the Rotary Club of Cobar was also able to secure further funds from Rotary Australia World Community Service (RAWCS) and a second truckload of hay was organised. The hay was sourced from farming communities in Western Victoria and transported by the Radcliffe family of Kerang and with funds from another donor, a third truck saw a convoy of ‘roadtrains’ arrive on site in the Cobar region to relieve the strain on local communities and supply much needed fodder to drought ravaged farms.
Further funds have been allocated to community groups servicing Northern Victoria and Southern NSW including a second round of funding to East Loddon Foodshare. Recognising the commitment of local groups that are in touch with their communities was paramount in getting the funds to where they make the most difference.
The Rotary Club of Bendigo acknowledges the foresight of Terry Jarvis and Michelle Kent in holding the ”Life on the Land – our Farming Heroes” exhibition in November 2019. We can assure these very generous community members and organisations that supported the exhibition, that their donations have been well received by people ravaged by a drought that, in some cases, is still causing severe hardship.
Brian Figg – Project Manager
Life on the Land – Drought relief Appeal. Rotary Club of Bendigo Dr Michael Pearson- President
Rotary Club of Bendigo.