The recent summer months in Australia have been tough for many communities grappling with drought and bushfires, along with the devastating loss of life, property and the economic activity regional towns need to survive. The staff team at Stretton Gardens Residential Aged Care decided that they wanted to do something to have a positive effect on the lives of those impacted.
Throughout December and January, Stretton Gardens held a fundraiser for the drought appeal. Initiated by Residential Manager Jane Narain and brought to life by Activities Officer Kelly, the fundraiser took place over the festive period and included volunteers Wayne and Bing-Kee with Maintenance Officer Brendan Pearson making a special appearance as Santa.
Stretton Gardens opened up the facility to all staff and resident’s families who wanted to have a photo with Santa for a gold coin donation to the drought appeal. The response was fantastic; Jane says that staff brought their kids dressed up in their finery to have their photo taken with Santa, while residents, their families and the co-located retirement village residents also supported the fundraiser.
The donation box was left in the foyer over the weekends and during the Christmas Carols, where the donations continued to flow in.
When donations were complete, staff, volunteers and families personally drove up to Murgon, a regional Queensland town in which SCCQ also operates a residential aged care facility and where an existing relationship exists with the local community centre. Jane says that the purpose of driving up to Murgon was to inject some funds into the town, by buying petrol and food locally to support businesses in the town. The money was used at the local supermarket to buy gift vouchers and then given to the community centre to distribute to needy families.
Jane said that the most likely recipients of the vouchers would be local farmers and their families, who often put their own needs last. “The drought has been particularly difficult for farmers in the Murgon region over a number of years,” said Jane.
Jane thanked everyone involved, especially the staff, residents, their families and volunteers who so enthusiastically donated to the cause and says that the outcome was an indication of the generosity and community spirit of Stretton Gardens.
“A special thanks to Kelly, our Activities Officer and volunteers Wayne and Bing-Kee who travelled with me to Murgon to personally deliver our donations,” said Jane. “A face-to-face connection was really special. It was just a small way to offer some support to our friends doing it tough in the bush.”