Bushfire funds at work

Bushfire funds at work

More than $3 million has been raised for the Victorian Jewish Bushfire Relief Appeal following the devastating summer fires that ravaged the state.

Photo: Noel Kessel
Photo: Noel Kessel

THE generosity of Jewish Victorians has resulted in more than $3 million being raised for the Victorian Jewish Bushfire Relief Appeal, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) plenum was told on Monday night.

Ian Davis, representing the appeal’s organising committee, said a unified response from the Jewish community made the most of resources, emphasising that no administrative fees will be deducted from funds raised, and all funds are now being allocated to achieve the best outcomes for devastated communities.

Several meetings with senior members of leading aid organisations and personal visits with community groups have resulted in the allocations committee, chaired by Carol Schwartz, directing funds to BlazeAid Inc, Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife, and The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival, to boost morale and business opportunities of families in Corryong, reported Davis.

Meanwhile, a $1 million donation to the St Vincent de Paul Back to School program, which directly helps students from bushfire-affected regions receive new school materials, computers, clothing and counselling support to begin the school year, has been a major component of the funds, he said, noting a visit to the Sacred Heart School in Corryong was inspirational for both the organising committee and the school community.

Sacred Heart School Corryong principal Zoe Nugent wrote to the organising committee, “Thank you for coming to our beautiful little town and stopping to visit us. Your donations and your absolute wish to be of service has been humbling and treasured.”

The appeal has enabled students to attend school camps and encourages a positive school experience, Andrew McKenzie, of Vinnies, told the plenum. He emphasised his organisation’s focus is helping move people out of disadvantaged circumstances, and this resonated with the organising committee, comprising David Smorgon, Ruth Alter, Fiona Geminder and Ian Davis.

JCCV president Jennifer Huppert and executive director Judy Fetter worked closely with members of the appeal’s operational committee to ensure a seamless process for local and international donors to the ­campaign, which will close on March 15.

To make a donation, visit www.charidy.com/bushfireappeal.

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