Western Downs residents to receive a helping hand during COVID-19

Murilla Emergency Grant Large

Families in the Western Downs region, who are suffering financial hardship in the wake of COVID-19, can continue to receive emergency assistance from Murilla Community Centre thanks to a COVID-19 Emergency Grant from Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

The Freemason charity has granted $36,500 to the Murilla Community Centre in Miles to help people in the region who have been affected by the pandemic to purchase necessities such as food, fuel, pharmaceuticals and toiletries.

The grant is a welcome addition to Murilla Community Centre’s existing emergency relief program, which previously generated most of its funding through a volunteer-run secondhand bookstore. Social distancing regulations meant the store had to close, which has put the emergency relief program in jeopardy at a time when it was needed most.

Murilla Community Centre Manager Cecily Brockhurst said the grant allowed the center to continue to support thousands of Western Downs residents, particularly those who were ineligible for other forms of assistance. It will also help the local economy through the distribution of vouchers to be spent locally.

“We are seeing greater demand for emergency relief in the Western Downs as people lose their jobs or their working hours are reduced because of the Coronavirus. Many are also still suffering from the effects of the drought, so our community is facing some unique economic challenges,” Cecily said.

“We expect a large number of people will need emergency relief while they go through the process of applying for unemployment benefits. This grant will alleviate some of that financial stress and allow us to also provide support for anyone who falls through the cracks and is unable to claim government assistance.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer Gary Mark said the Freemason charity was focused on assisting its existing charity partners and working with Freemason Lodges to increase support at a grassroots level during the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This COVID-19 Emergency Grant is in addition to the $102,500 Significant Grant provided to the Centre in July last year to purchase a bus and vehicle to ensure the elderly and those with a disability in the community could maintain their independence,” Gary said.

“Hand Heart Pocket is committed to ensuring its existing charity partners can continue providing support to the community during this challenging time and achieve their planned outcomes over the long-term.

“Murilla Community Centre provides an essential service for its region, and we are pleased to be able to to provide this extra support to help them continue to meet the growing community need for emergency relief.”

Photo: Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland has provided a further grant to their charity partners, Murilla Community Centre, to enable their emergency relief program to continue in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant is in addition to the support provided last year for a new bus and vehicle so the centre could help the communities elderly and disabled maintain their independence. 

To find out more about the Murilla Community Centre go to www.mccm.org.au.

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