National bushfire appeal '08 opens with $10,000 donation
Bendigo Bank has opened its long-standing National Bushfire Appeal for 2008 with an immediate donation of $10,000 from its philanthropic arm, Community Enterprise Foundation.
Bendigo Bank spokesman Owen Davies said that with four deaths already this year as a result of fires in Western Australia and Victoria, and bushfires burning across several states, the bank was throwing open its 390 branches to support fire victims across Australia.
“With the unprecedented weather conditions over the New Year break and the forecast for hotter and drier conditions to continue over coming months, we wanted to be able to respond immediately to help fire victims,” Mr Davies said.
“Funds raised now will be ready to be distributed rapidly to those in need, when and where they need it.”
Community Enterprise Foundation Chairman Ian Mansbridge urged people right across Australia not to wait until disaster struck.
“This is an opportunity for people in metropolitan areas to show their support for country people who are already feeling the effects of bushfires, and who are still suffering from severe drought conditions,” he said.
“In Victoria and Western Australia, the effects of recent fires have seen lives and homes already destroyed and we know that more communities across Australia will ultimately be affected.
“It is looking grim, but we all have the means to help. So let’s not wait. Let’s work together to build a fund that will be at the ready to assist our local communities should they be subjected to bushfire,” Mr Mansbridge said.
In 2007 the Bank’s Bushfire Appeal raised significant funds for the victims of last year’s bushfires.
The Western Australia regional community of Toodyay received a contribution $7,000 towards a volunteer community engagement activity to promote men's health, local volunteerism, local community service providers and emergency relief organisations.
In partnership with Tasmanian Perpetual Trustees, the Foundation granted $10,000 to the Tasmanian Red Cross who assisted with the emergency relief among the families directly affected by the fires.
Donations to the Bushfire Appeal can be made at Bendigo Bank and Adelaide Bank branches. Donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible.