Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland announced today at Hermit Park State School a donation of $80,000 to the Joyful Foundation. Funds were raised through the Hand Heart Pocket 2016 Christmas Appeal, in conjunction with its network of Masonic Lodges throughout the State.
The donation will allow the Joyful Foundation to support North Queensland’s disadvantaged primary school students to reach their full potential by providing them with basic essentials like stationery packs, uniforms and the cost of extra-curricular activities and excursions for those who might normally go without.
The Townsville-based Masonic initiative is the legacy of former Hermit Park State School Teacher, the late Joy Donnellan, who passed away in October 2011 after an aggressive battle with cancer. Joy often took it upon herself to buy school supplies and other basic essentials for children in need to ensure every student had the opportunity to succeed.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark, said that the target for this appeal had been exceed by $30,000, allowing more to be done to support students in a region that has been hit hard by the economic downturn.
“We are delighted that through the funds already disbursed from our Christmas Appeal the Joyful Foundation has been able to expand its program from 44 schools to 63 schools in North Queensland with a record 600 stationery packs delivered within the first week of the school year alone,” Gary said.
“To provide a greater impact, Hand Heart Pocket matched the fundraising efforts of its Lodges dollar for dollar, bringing the total we could donate to $80,000. Now schools as far north as Cardwell and Tully; Julia Creek, Cloncurry and Mt Isa out west and; Ayr and Home Hill south of Townsville are able to receive this potentially life-changing support from the Joyful Foundation,” he said.
Joyful Foundation Founder, Freemason and father of Joy, Ron Donnellan, said that he was grateful for all those who invested in the future of North Queensland.
“These students have a real chance of flourishing in the classroom instead of falling behind,” Ron said.
“It’s not until you go and speak to the Principals and Teachers in these schools that you realise how much need there is in the community,” he said.
“Joy would be wrapped, she took her job of empowering students to be their best, seriously. It is a privilege to carry on this important life-changing work and help shape the future of North Queensland,” Ron said.
Photo: Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark with Joyful Foundation Founder, Ron Donnellan.