After a huge effort involving many people, we have so far raised $6.35m for the drought appeal to support drought-affected farming families. I mentioned the initial donation from CommBank (CBA) of $1.75m last week and since then, CBA customers have donated a further $2.5m both over the counter and via in-app donations.
Virgin Airlines committed to having a Red Cross donation box at each of their counters in NSW, ACT and QLD for the month of August and will collect donations on all flights travelling to or from airports on the eastern seaboard, so look out for them in your travels. Australia Post is also accepting over the counter donations and we have had further donations from major supporters of around $300,000.
One of the main events last weekend was the ABC telethon, supported by our Supporter Services team and many other staff members who volunteered their time. The team was dedicated to the cause responding to calls and receiving messages for the farming families. This activity alone raised $1.2m. I’m in SA today. Yesterday, I spent time with the SA zone representatives who shared their fundraising initiatives for the drought. It was great to hear about the local activities that you’re putting together for the appeal.
We are partnering with Country Women’s Association (CWA) in NSW to deliver this financial support to the farmers and we have just signed an agreement with CWA Queensland. On Friday 10 August, $500,000 was released to CWA NSW. We have chosen CWA as our partner because together we have a tremendous community presence and because the CWA is already on the ground delivering financial support to farmers affected by the drought. We are working together to ensure that 100% of every dollar raised goes to those farmers, their families and communities most impacted by severe drought. Finally, we are also working with other organisations fundraising for those impacted by severe drought, to agree how we can join forces to maximise and coordinate the funds going to those who most need it.
Last week, we launched an appeal for affected people in Lombok, Indonesia where Indonesian Red Cross staff and volunteers are continuing efforts in providing psychological first aid, emergency and relief needs after a third earthquake struck the island.
Finally, we launched an appeal to channel funding through IFRC to Greece to provide humanitarian support to people and communities affected by forest fires as many from Australia’s large Greek community wanted to contribute.
It was a big week for all involved.
Humanitarian of the Year award
Former Red Cross aid worker Jess Lees has been nominated for the Humanitarian of the Year award in Cosmopolitan magazine. The annual event celebrates Australian women who have inspired the nation with their passion, heart, creativity and leadership that have impacted the lives of many be it through social work, sports or business.
Humanitarian of the Year award is one of 10 categories listed in the magazine’s Women of the Year 2018. You can read more about Jess here.