Tears and joy as Christmas appeal helps drought affected community

Thanks to the generosity of the Bonner community, more than $5000 was raised through the Ross Vasta Christmas Appeal for Stanthorpe to help bring some Christmas cheer to the drought and bushfire affected region.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said Team Vasta and representatives from GIVIT online charity visited the region on Tuesday to distribute the donations, and the community response was both overwhelming and humbling.

“We joined GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant to help buy goods and vouchers for people in need, and the response from the community was just outstanding,” Mr Vasta said.

“Stanthorpe’s St Vincent de Paul Society branch identified a number of families needing support, so we went to work purchasing good and vouchers from IGA, some toys to ensure these kids would be visited by Santa, as well as vouchers to buy school uniforms.

“Thank you to everyone who donated to this appeal. You have helped bring so much joy and relief to those who really need it.”

GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant said all funds received were spent at local businesses to further support the regional community.

“We purchased hair dressing vouchers from Stanthorpe salons, and gift cards from a local family-operated service station to provide some relief to drought-affected farmers,” Ms Tennant said.

“Hampers of household essentials, children’s toys, gift vouchers and festive mince pies we also donated to lighten the financial pressures on families celebrating what’s been an extremely testing year.

“As well as visiting St Vincent de Paul, we gave festive items for Christmas care packages to Granite Belt Drought Assist’s facility where people across the region can access vital donations of water.”

Ms Tennant said they had barely driven out of the city when Lee Stroud from St Vincent de Paul – Stanthorpe called to say she had already given some donations to a local family in need.

“The mum was so overwhelmed. She was nearly speechless and so grateful,” Ms Tennant said.

“We were so happy to partner with Ross Vasta to help bring some Christmas cheer to the Stanthorpe community during such a tough time.

“GIVIT is here for the long-term for the Southern Darling Downs region, as well as all communities in need across Queensland.”

Mr Vasta said he was pleased they had already received some heart-warming responses from the community.

“Sally Orreal from Stanthorpe Sport and Camping said she had goosebumps and was holding back tears when we came in to shop up a storm for toys for local kids,” Mr Vasta said.

“She thanked Team Vasta and GIVIT with a big hug for buying locally.”

Items donated are listed below:

Lee Stroud, St Vincent de Paul – Stanthorpe

4 x $50 Stanthorpe Quality Meats butcher
2x $40 haircut vouchers
4 x $50 Howard & Son’s Mitre 10
$400 worth of Spano’s IGA Stanthorpe $20 vouchers
20 Toys purchased from local sports shop
100 groceries including cleaning products and hygiene products
12 Chrisco hampers
Pack of bonds singlets baby
1 baby skirt
5 x $80 fuel from Stanthorpe Fuel & Services
19 Christmas cards/decorations

Glenda Riles – Granite Belt Drought Assist

4 x $100 Gleesons Mercery, school uniform vouchers
2 x $40 hair cut vouchers
4 x $50 Howard & Son’s Mitre 10
4 x $50 Stanthorpe Quality Meats butcher
4 x $80 fuel from Stanthorpe Fuel & Services
$620 worth of Spano’s IGA Stanthorpe $20 vouchers
25 toys
Large Box of hanes underwear
10 Chrisco hampers

Sandra Head – Southern Downs Emergency Relief

10x $50 BP Fuel vouchers
10x $50 Spano’s IGA Warwick
10x $50 Woolworths wish cards – donated from Queensland Rail

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Christmas appeal attracting generous donations

The Ross Vasta Christmas Appeal for Stanthorpe has attracted generous community support, including from eight-year-old Charlotte Mews who recently donated $123 she raised though a bake sale.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said he was so proud of Charlotte who wanted to donate the money she raised through Moreton Bay Girl Guides to the appeal.

“Charlotte’s mum Sarah contacted our office to let us know her daughter had baked cookies, slices and cupcakes and sold them to her fellow Brownies and Girl Guide leaders to raise funds for drought affected farmers,” Mr Vasta said.

“As well as fundraising through a bake sale, Charlotte presented a poster gave and short talk at Brownies about the drought and fires in Stanthorpe.

“When she heard about our Christmas appeal, she wanted to present us with the funds she raised, and GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant was more than happy to accept it on my behalf.”

GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant said the online charity had so far received cash donations from dozens of individuals and families in the east Brisbane electorate.

“We’re incredibly heartened by the generous response from the people of Bonner, and especially by the amazing individual donation from Charlotte from what sounded like a very delicious bake sale,” Ms Tennant said.

“100 per cent of donations GIVIT receives through the Ross Vasta Christmas Appeal will go towards purchasing items from Stanthorpe businesses for bushfire-affected households. Whether it be five or 200 dollars, every donation helps give Christmas cheer to a devastated community.”

Charlotte’s mum Sarah Mews said her daughter was inspired to help the drought affected community following a recent trip to Stanthorpe to visit her grandparents.

“We are very proud of what she has achieved at such a young age,” Ms Mews said.

Mr Vasta said so far the Christmas Appeal for Stanthorpe had raised more than $2700.

“We’re more than halfway through the appeal so a big thank you to the generous people of Bonner,” Mr Vasta said.

“Thanks to our partnership with GIVIT, 100 per cent of funds will be supporting the drought and bushfire affected Stanthorpe region to bring them some Christmas cheer.”

For more information or to donate, visit www.rossvasta.com.au/community/grants

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Ross Vasta Christmas appeal for Stanthorpe

The Ross Vasta Christmas Appeal officially launched today and has partnered with national online charity GIVIT to support the drought and bushfire affected community of Stanthorpe and the Granite Belt.

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP said the Christmas Appeal for Stanthorpe encouraged locals in Bonner to donate and purchase much needed items and services for Stanthorpe and surrounding residents.

“In a further effort to support the local community, we will ensure where possible, items for the Stanthorpe residents through this appeal will be purchased locally to support Darling Downs businesses,” Mr Vasta said.

“Now more than ever, the township needs to see money we raise, spent locally to keep small business and jobs ticking over.

Mr Vasta said he was driven to supporting Stanthorpe with a Christmas appeal after witnessing the hardship of families and farmers affected by the drought and recent bushfires.

“Suffering through a drought is hard enough, but to lose homes, sheds and stock through bushfires is just devastating,” Mr Vasta said.

GIVIT CEO Sarah Tennant said the organisation had been working with frontline services and charities to support the recovery process of bushfire-affected communities since early September.

“Christmas is always a hard time for people who are struggling financially, especially those Queenslanders affected by the ongoing drought as well as recent bushfires,” Ms Tennant said.

“We’re proud to be partnering with the Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP to continue to help those in the Granite Belt, who have already received thousands of donated items through GIVIT including white goods and essential clothing for young families.”

Mr Vasta said the Christmas appeal would run for six weeks, finishing on December 13.

“This is a fantastic way for residents and businesses in my electorate of Bonner to support farmers, families and local businesses in one of Queensland’s drought affected communities.

“I’m so pleased to be able to create this avenue for people in Bonner to do something positive and selfless, by supporting regional families who are struggling through the festive season.”

Big-hearted residents in the Bonner electorate can donate funds to purchase particular items or services, such as:

  • $2 will provide a newspaper from the Stanthorpe Newsagency for a farmer affected by the drought
  • $5 will provide a coffee from Brinx Deli & Café for a volunteer firefighter
  • $10 will provide Christmas decorations from Price Busters Variety Stanthorpe for a vulnerable family
  • $20 will provide a cosmetics voucher from Pure Heaven for a single woman affected by recent bushfires
  • $30 will provide a Christmas lunch at the RSL for an elderly man living alone
  • $40 will provide a premium pack of meat from Stanthorpe Quality Meats for a couple’s Christmas lunch
  • $50 will provide a lady’s gift voucher for Pink Poppies Living Creatively to decorate a property damaged by bushfires
  • $80 will provide a clothes voucher from Eclectic Palate for a woman displaced by bushfires
  • $200 will provide a groceries voucher for a drought-affected family’s Christmas feast from the Spano’s Supa IGA
  • $300 will provide an electric guitar from Top Beat Entertainment & Electronics for drought-affected family to surprise a teenager
  • $500 will provide a voucher from Howard & Sons Mitre 10 for a man who’s shed was destroyed by bushfires

To donate to the Ross Vasta Christmas Appeal for Stanthorpe visit GIVIT.org.au/donate-funds, select Christmas 2019 in the “Donate to” options, and put ‘VASTA’ in the comments box.

100 per cent of funds received will be used to purchase items for Stanthorpe residents in need this Christmas.

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Call for donations for drought-stricken farmers

Federal Member for Bonner, Ross Vasta, today urged local residents and businesses to donate much-needed goods and supplies to farmers in South Western Queensland affected by drought, as part of a drive led by the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association.

“You can help out farmers and their families who are doing it tough by donating boxed non-perishable foods, toiletries, laundry products, cleaning items, and other goods for children including toys, games and books,” Mr Vasta said.

“My office in Wynnum is currently accepting donations, which will then be personally delivered by truck to farmers and their families out west.”

Mr Vasta said the next planned run in June, the third run since the drought relief project began, was dependent on the number of donations received.

He commended the National Malaya and Borneo Veterans Association along with other local groups for their joint effort in promoting the project and gathering donations.

Organiser David Brewer said the project was a worthwhile cause and that every single donation made a difference.

“The group has already done two runs that were very well received,” Mr Brewer said.

He stressed the donations were preferred already boxed to save on repacking time and to allow the goods to get to those in need sooner.

“We are also asking for more volunteers to assist in collecting donations from private residences,” Mr Brewer said.

“If we receive enough donations for the run to go ahead, we will also be seeking volunteers with vehicles that can transport up to 40 boxes to pick up donations from the drop-off points to deliver to our main storage depot in Sunnybank.”

Mr Vasta said the first two drought relief runs were very well received by farmers and their families, and he hoped enough donations would be made to make a third run out west possible.

He encouraged people to spare a thought for drought-affected farmers, and to read the poem that inspired the drought relief project, ‘Every Day We Bleed’ by Gary Fogarty (copies of which can be picked up at the office of Ross Vasta MP).

Donations can be left at the office of Ross Vasta MP, located at 69 Clara Street, Wynnum 4178.

For more information or to volunteer, please contact David Brewer on 07 3273 3721 or 0422 913 741.

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