December 9, 2019
Written by Rachel Bailey
After watching the heart-wrenching SBS documentary series, Struggle Street, Arcare volunteer coordinator, Margaret Furlong felt compelled to find a way to help Australia’s drought affected farmers.
Over the course of watching series and delving into further research, Margaret discovered how many Australian farmers, are only able to shower once week at the most, and how many children, aged six years old and under, living on farms have never seen rain in their lifetimes.
The Struggle Street documentary depicted the heart-breaking story of a family living and working on a dairy farm in remote New South Wales. The family were faced with the daily struggle of keeping up with the enormous bills involved with keeping the farm running, falling milk prices and then a broken water pump broke. They were without the funds needed to run their household at a basic level, and were at risk of losing their farm. However the family endured with very little resources, money and support, for the sake of their family and their farm.
After watching this family’s struggles, Margaret and her husband, Geoff (Arcare Brighton’s maintenance man) were determined to make a difference. Partnering with the Little Juddies foundation, Margaret decided to initiate and start a drought relief collection across all Victorian Arcare residences and at Head Office.
Over a three week period, team members, family members and even clients, generously donated a variety of non-perishable products to help Australia’s drought-affected farmers.
Being the worst drought on record in Australian history, Margaret asked team members, community members, and even clients to donate non-perishable goods to the cause.
However Margaret has also taken the collection beyond Arcare and into the wider community, reaching out to local community groups and businesses for donations.
“We are so very grateful that almost everyone we approached got on board and has responded with enthusiasm.” Margaret said.
So far, local businesses and groups have donated:
After hearing about the wonderful collections going on throughout the community, the Arcare Caulfield community were inspired to go above and beyond, and they were determined to find more ways to help.
Arcare Caulfield lifestyle coordinator, Gail Perry organised to host a special concert fundraiser and raffle to help raise money to the farmers, in addition to their already overflowing non-perishable donations.
On Friday 22nd November, world-famous pianist and local community member, Alan Kogosowski generously donated his time to perform at the concert fundraiser and help drive up donations. Everyone who attended the event was encouraged to either make a donation or buy a raffle ticket.
After selling out of raffle tickets, the lifestyle team called out the various winners to come up and claim their prizes.
The Arcare Caulfield community was able to raise an astounding $1502 from the concert fundraiser and raffle. However donations continued to roll in, even after the event was over; with the Caulfield community raising $1621 in total. Arcare Head Office were so impressed by Arcare Caulfield’s sense of community spirit and selflessness, that they chose to make their own cash donation of $1621; matching their collection, dollar for dollar.
Once all of the Victorian residence had completed their collections, all of the donations were sent off to be delivered to Head Office to be sorted and packed. All of the donations were stored in a large spare office next door to Head Office. The office space was overflowing with gifts and non-perishable items by the time the trailer arrived.
On Friday 29th November, Head Office team members assisted Margaret and Geoff load up their car and trailer with all the donations. Margaret and Geoff then personally drove the donations all the way up to Harvey Bay, to deliver them to the Little Juddies foundation.
The Little Juddies founders, Mick and Bianca Judd will then be hand delivering the food and supplies to drought-affected farmers from 7th December onwards; just in time for Christmas.
“People are really doing it tough. We have had people cry on our shoulder when we’ve done drop offs in the past.” Bianca Judd explained.
In the past three years, The Little Juddies have trucked more than 200 tonnes of food and supplies to drought-affected areas in NSW and Queensland.
To find out more about the Little Juddies: https://bit.ly/2s82uEe
Rachel Bailey is the Community Marketing Officer for Victoria. Rachel has been with Arcare since February 2018, when she started in the role of Relationship Coordinator. Rachel has previously worked in a wide range of roles that equipped her for her responsibilities as Arcare's Community Marketing Officer for Victoria. Rachel has previously held marketing roles and administration roles in a range of industries, earning a range of valuable communications skills that she brings to her role today. Rachel attended Lyndhurst Secondary College in Cranbourne, Victoria, graduating with her Victorian Certificate of Education in 2014. She went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) majoring in Communication and Media Studies & Public Relations in 2017. Rachel is passionate about her work and believes that strong communication strategies are the key to creating a closer connection between residents in aged care communities and the wider community. Rachel is a firm believer in regular communications to help friends and family keep updated on the lives of their loved ones who are enjoying life in Arcare residences.