Ten (10) schools in Central West Queensland were among those to have benefited from the final round of funds distributed as part of the Hand Heart Pocket Drought Appeal.
The 18-month fundraising campaign which concluded in September last year, saw Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland, in conjunction with its network of Masonic Lodges, raise and distribute $1 million to drought-affected communities in outback Queensland.
Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark, said the final round of funds had been distributed late last year when schools were planning for the year ahead.
“While each of the ten (10) schools had received funds from the Hand Heart Pocket Drought Appeal earlier in the campaign, it was great to be able offer more support,” Gary said.
“The schools received pre-loaded EFTPOS cards, giving them the flexibility to choose how the funds should be spent to assist those in need. The schools were encouraged to spend the EFTPOS cards locally to support small businesses doing it tough because of the drought,” he said.
Some schools put the funds towards the purchase of workbooks and other back to school essentials, to take the load off families. Others channeled the funds towards existing programs such as purchasing food for the weekly Breakfast/Homework Club or the ‘Sip and Crunch’ initiative where students stop for a piece of fruit or vegetables and water, at the same time every day, in an effort to rehydrate, maintain energy levels and improve concentration.
Gary said Hand Heart Pocket was proud to have supported a range of demographics and initiatives through its Drought Appeal, from putting food on the table, to paying utility bills and supporting mental health initiatives, but especially supporting students in need at drought affected Queensland schools.
“If we have been able to make a difference by empowering schools to better support their students and give them opportunities that they might otherwise have missed out on, then we have achieved what we set out to do,” he said.
Photo: Muttaburra State School students with Principal Tanya Bambling using the workbooks purchased with funds distributed by Hand Heart Pocket.