From PDG Elvio Munzone (Lugarno Lions)
In the midst of yet another horror bushfire season, Lugarno Lions Dennis Whittingstall and Reg Walker at Sydney’s Hurstville Railway Station, collecting donations to help the victims of the fires.
Over just three days, Lions from the Lugarno and Oatley Clubs, supported by Georges River Lioness and the young Oatley Leos collected over $8,000 at Railway Stations and shopping centres.
A fabulous combined effort with over 27 people assisting with the bucket collections!
People were very generous and enthusiastic about giving to assist with the bushfire appeal and especially confident that Lions would give “every cent”
A particularly generous young lady at Penshurst Railway Station on meeting the Lions, turned around saying “I’ll be back!” She went to the nearest ATM and returned placing $40 in my bucket.
Better still, we were all encouraged by the donors who commented:
“You Lions do a great job!”
Lions Australia has announced $100,000 in immediate relief to assist Tasmanian victims and the local community impacted by the recent devastation of the catastrophic bushfires around Dunally. These funds have come from the Australian Lions Foundation (ALF), Tasmanian Lions, the Tasmanian Lions Foundation and Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF).
Lions Tasmania’s District Governor David Daniels says “I’ve been overwhelmed by support from Lions around Australia and it gives me a real sense of what we can do as an organisation. Money is what we need immediately, and these funds will be used for essentials like water, food, toiletries, laundry facilities and other basic necessities.”
Ken Gatehouse from Sorell Lions Club at the northern end of the affected area is also Lions Tasmania’s Disaster Chairman. Ken and his club members have been manning the evacuation centre at Sorell and he has been liaising with Lions Tasman Club in Port Arthur, “we’ve been here since last Thursday, says Ken, packing hampers, feeding people registering them, working side by side with the other services. We’ve still got a long way to go, especially when local people get back to their homes, they’ll need our support more than ever.”
Ken also has the recommendations provided by Lions involved in the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria as a resource. “Following that event, Alan Hayward from Kinglake Lions created a detailed document and we’ve been using that as a guide on what to do. It’s making things easier and proving to be a really valuable resource,” says Ken.
1st Vice President of Lions International Barry Palmer and Lions Australia Council Chairman Lou Onley have been touring the affected areas District Governor David Daniels and are proud of the efforts of Lions locally and from around Australia. Lions has now established the Tasmanian Bushfire Relief Appeal and clubs are asked to direct funds to the Australian Lions Foundation (ALF) to help to those who are most in need. Every dollar donated goes to the assist the victims.
Recovery in the area will begin soon and supports the concept of the new soon to be released Lions Australia campaign that “One more member means Two More Hands to help the community”.
For more information contact:
Rob Oerlemans – EO Lions Australia – 0409 778 044
David Daniels, District Governor , Lions Tasmania – 0400 118 666
Lions are currently heavily engaged in support efforts in Tasmania, as that part of Australia suffers from serious bushfires.
Tassy Lions will be supporting other voluntary agencies in staffing relief and evacuation centres and caring for displaced residents.
Stay tuned to this blog where we will be posting information from District Governor David Daniels, and follow this link to information about how Lions Clubs can donate to the ALF Appeal.
Lion Barry Brockbank
District Governor 201 Q2
This link below is to a Courier Mail article
My understanding is it was very localised weather event but even my own home was damaged.
The SES, Police and Council have it under control
I have spoken to several people including volunteering North Queensland
Lions are helping with cups of tea and hot food for those without power and I have just been asked for helpers to clean up at this stage.
LIONS: People doing EXTRAordinary things
We may not know all of the stanza’s of “Our Country” by Australian poet Dorothea Mackeller, but we know these lines:
“I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.”
I’m sure many Australians are finding that love a little tested over the last few years!
Floods are again ravaging the east coast of Australia and we ought to acknowledge the great work of our emergency services, community volunteers, and the thousand of local people who are displaced and managing through this disaster.
Lions Clubs are called on to support our very own Australian Lions Foundation flood appeal. The funds will be used to support Lions Clubs aroudn the country involved in relief, support, and ultimately rebuilding efforts.
For details on how to help, follow this link. Message to Clubs 2012 Floods
Our hearts go out to our many Lions who are also affected by this new disaster. Post your comments, thoughts and photos to us so that we can support you.
Report from PRO Margaret River Lions, Claire Parker
The November 23-24 2011 Margaret River fires in Western Australia, erupted when a prescribed burn by the Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) flared out of control in a national park, about 280km south of Perth.
Residents were told to evacuate from the Prevelly, Gnarabup and Kilcarnup area immediately
The bellow of smoke coming from that area cast a black shadow in the sky, which as the day went on got progressively worse along with the news reports about the fires.
As soon as I got out of work I headed for the Lions shed and by this point the knowledge that fire had spread and destroyed homes was a reality.
I met Laurence who was driving the Lions van and we pulled up by the side of the road and had our first meeting. We knew we had to do something and immediately set up a committee of Lions members. These initial members became our disaster relief committee.
Our next steps were: the treasurer set up the ‘Margaret River Lions Bush fire appeal Fund’, and the publicity officer contacted the papers (local and national), radio and Television stations and used the internet as well as all Lions clubs to publicise the fund. The President contacted the District Governor and the Disaster Chairperson and also the local shire members to co-ordinate assistance.
The evacuees were assembled at the local cultural centre and we had a core group of members who co-ordinated mattresses, food and other essential items for people who were affected by the bush fires. We also had other local Lions clubs assist at this resource centre.
We sought advice and support from Kelmscott and Armadale Lions club who had recently been through a similar experience and gained valuable information on how to proceed and what to expect.
We allocated a Lion’s member to be at the cultural centre as it became a hub for those people affected; within a few days most people had found temporary accommodation and this venue became the place for people to get updates, talk to the Red Cross and insurance companies and gain access to other assistance.
At this stage Lions members used a registration form so that people affected could register with us and we could gain information about who they were and what they might need (the reason we had to do this was that the Shire were not able to divulge the contact details of those affected). At a later date we were able to send this information through to the Shire for all those who had lost homes in the fires.
While this was all going on we set up a food bank (with help from Kathie Castle – Margaret River Scouts) and we were also donated a location in town that we used as a clothes, tools and later a food bank, which moved from the Scout Hall. The idea was that this location was only assessable by those affected by the bush fires and not the public. We opted for this as a way to help keep anonymity of those coming forward for help.
This coordinated operation was a massive and an amazing achievement for the club. The ‘banks’ were well utilized and well advertised in the local press and around town and also by word-of-mouth. It really gave immediate assistance to those who needed it and we soon realised the needy were not just people who had lost homes but those who had partial damage and those affected in many different financial and emotional ways.
Running parallel to this operation was the need to deal with the huge amount of donations that we received, including used and new items. We had to filter the new items to go directly to the clothes, tools and food bank but the rest were sorted and sold at three garage sales held in December 2011 and January 2012 which raised a total of $28,000. This process of dealing with donations of used goods served to assist the community and wider community.
I feel that as an organisation not only do we serve those who suffer loss but we also have to serve the people who are so keen to help others. We became the machine that was driven by the generosity of spirit of people also affected in some way by this disaster.
Dealing with donations was probably the most draining of energy and an emotional strain for some members who were practically living, eating and breathing the disaster recovery.
As time has passed and as people’s lives have gotten back to some sort of normality we have made it part of our follow up process to check in with all the people who registered during the event. This has given us the opportunity to be present at some Shire events organised to help more people.
We have also remained in contact with other bush fire recovery resources so that we can continue to work together to make sure that everyone is helped.
The disaster relief committee branched off into different responsibilities:
- Victim support (who are working closely with the Shire and Department of Child protection),
- Community Healing (we have already supported an art installation event produced by a local artist which gave the victims a platform for expression and support)
- Infrastructure and environmental rehabilitation (which will see projects set up to help this area of recovery)
- Animal welfare
We feel that these are the main areas to allocate the funds that we have raised.
The amount raised at date is approx $175,000 and we are making sure that some of the funds which have stipulations on are spent correctly and wisely and that funds cover all aspects of the bush fire recovery. The recovery is on-going and we predict we will be assisting people for a number of years.
The Lions Club of Margaret River
5 March 2012
Footnote: Claire has compiled a package of information/forms/publicity material that will soon be available for download to any club who might want to use it for training or in practice.
Recently the Margaret River community has been dealing with and coming to terms with the recent bush fires.
We would like to keep everyone up-to-date with all that we are doing so you can spread the word and feel that we are all one big family. Firstly though, we would like to send our thanks and appreciation for the offers of money and support from our fellow Lions Clubs.
The Margaret River Lions hold garage sales bimonthly and fortunately that meant we had a large shed full of recycled goods that has enabled us to provide immediate relief for the bush fire victims. We are using recycled goods donated for garage sales to generate much needed financial assistance to the victims and the rebuild.
An account has been established to raise money for the victims. Named the ‘The Margaret River Lions Bush Fire Appeal’ funds raised will be used for short and long term projects as well as direct donations for the people affected by the bush fire.
A registration system has been established with the Margaret River Shire which provides information on those people who have lost homes and others who have sustained damage to their properties. This will allow us to fine tune our help to fire victims.
Our immediate response to this disaster was to set up three main banks to assist the victims of the fire.
Firstly, we have a clothes bank, with new items (some which have been donated) such as towels, bed linen and pillows to help set up people who have not been able to return to their homes or others that have no homes to return to.
Secondly we have set up a tool bank to help provide items used for the clean-up process such as wheelbarrows, gloves, shovels etc. There will also be products to help with the outside clean up and products to help clean up the dust and soot in people’s homes.
These two banks have been set up at our shed on Station Road to help keep the victims separate from the Lions shed and garage sales and also to allow them some anonymity and privacy.
The third bank is the food shed, which is currently located at the local Scouts Hall near the Cultural Centre and is open to anyone who has been affected by the fires and also the families of people who are housing the victims. Non-perishable food items as well as toiletries are available.
Note: The food bank will soon move to the Station Road premises.
We are thankful that we have had the full support of our local Lions District and have been visited by W2DG Peter Lamb who attended our emergency meeting recently. We have also had some assistance from Lions International, the disaster and relief officer and have had vital information passed on from Lions members from Armadale-Kelmscott and Toodyay – their experience and knowledge can benefit us in this situation.
We have been simply overwhelmed with the support from our own community and people from all over the country. Some wonderful donations have already been received and some made up packs with letters to the victims brought tears to our eyes.