“Unprecedented”, a sentiment shared by every Director in the Twin Towns boardroom at their recent meeting. The topics under discussion were drought and bushfires, two crises simultaneously affecting the lives and livelihoods of tens of thousands of everyday Australians.
Board members of the Twin Towns group, comprising the Services Club and its affiliated philanthropic association, the Twin Towns Services Community Foundation, met to discuss how best to respond to the growing number of communities in crisis. Their response was also unprecedented, with a unanimous decision to commit $440,000 to Australians suffering hardship and loss caused by bushfires and drought.
Twin Towns Chairman Michael Fraser said, “If the Board’s greatest challenge is simply deciding where to help, our problems are neither relevant nor significant compared to those bearing the brunt of these catastrophic, and for many, tragic events.
“The donations address the need for immediate support for victims of the bushfires, as well as a schedule of ongoing financial support for drought-stricken farmers and communities across Australia,” said Mr Fraser.
Twin Towns commitment includes $160,000 in immediate funding for the bushfire recovery efforts; $60,000 in immediate funding for drought relief efforts; plus an additional $220,000 in financial support for drought relief to be donated in $20,000 monthly increments over the next 12 months.
Recently, Twin Town’s Board also voted to cancel annual New Year’s Eve fireworks at two of their local Clubs, instead redirecting money saved to bushfire appeals.
“It wasn’t an easy decision to make,” said Mr Fraser, “but following an announcement about it on local radio stations, we were totally overwhelmed by the number of messages of appreciation and support from our local community. This endorsement, especially from our members, was the catalyst for substantially increasing the sum we originally planned to donate to bushfires and drought appeals. We knew it wholeheartedly reflected members’ values and their expectations of their Club.
“If it wasn’t for the support of members, the backbone of our Club, we wouldn’t be in a position to make this donation. Each and every member has played a role in making this happen,” said Mr Fraser.
Mr Fraser said he and the Board are truly inspired by what is currently happening around the country.
“The huge number of Clubs, the general public and businesses, large and small, donating their time, money, food, clothing and even kids’ toys, reinforces the true spirit of mateship that exists in our country. I acknowledge my fellow Directors for making a balanced and considered contribution, one which reflects the gravity of the situation. I firmly believe it’s a good decision; the right decision.”
Five of the organisations and appeals to receive financial assistance from Twin Towns include:
- The Salvation Army Drought and Bushfire Appeals
- Team Rubicon, deploying Australian Defence Force veterans to assist drought-affected farmers and rural communities
- Buy a Bale, providing stock feed, water and financial assistance to drought and bushfire-affected communities
- Blaze Aid, a volunteer-based organisation working across rural Australia in the wake of natural disasters.
- Rotary, delivering every dollar donated to local communities that need them most, including the Mid North Coast region