Students, staff and families at Matthew Flinders Anglican College have stepped up to support people in need in flood-affected areas in the Gympie region, raising more than $12,000 in one day and donating hundreds of items.
College Chaplain Reverend Kathrin Koning said the response had been heart-warming, and would be welcomed by people in Gympie whose homes had been devastated in February’s flood event.
Reverend Kathrin said, “Our Flinders community was invited to donate items, and people have been so generous!
“Students, staff and parent volunteers helped to organise the hundreds of bags of donations we received at the College Chapel within just a few days, which included food, quality clothes and bedding, children’s toys, cleaning products and other supplies.”
Students in the Flinders Primary and Secondary Schools also contributed by organising a uniform-free fundraiser day on Friday, 11 March. The bright fluoro ‘high-vis’ theme was chosen to celebrate Queensland’s brave emergency crews and volunteers and encourage light-hearted fun on campus for wellbeing.
In one day, the College raised $7,700 in cash, and there were also gift cards donated, worth $4,600.
“The College has established a relationship with the Anglican Parish of Gympie and Region, so Reverend Shaji Joseph will be distributing the funds, cards and supplies as he becomes aware of residents’ unique needs,” Reverend Kathrin said.
“He explained to us that many people don't have a home to go to – not to fix or even refurnish. It will take a long time, even for that step,” she said.
Upon learning of the support, Reverend Shaji wrote to the Flinders community and said: "We are humbled and touched by your generosity and the great sense of love and compassion shown by your school community at this difficult time."
Flinders Year 12 student Maddy Archer enjoyed the opportunity to be involved in the fundraiser.
“The highlights were seeing everyone in their funky fluoro outfits as well as the overwhelming amount of donations across the school for such a worthy cause,” Maddy said.
“Everyone showed their support through clothing items and monetary donations, which was awesome to see,” she said.
“I think it's important for our College community to come together so we can support one another, especially because many of us and our families and friends were affected by floods. Whether it was as simple as road closures or as serious as losing housing and belongings, many of us were moved by this natural disaster as it was close to home.”
Principal Stuart Meade said the project had enabled the Flinders community to work together to support people in need in the region.
“Families are suffering in our Sunshine Coast community and so our Flinders community wanted to be proactive and find a way to assist in an impactful way,” Stuart said.
“We aim to prepare our students, as socially responsible citizens, for just this sort of service to their communities,” he said
“Our students are learning how to show care for others, but also to feel confident and capable of contributing to a solution or way forward.”
Students at Flinders are encouraged to uphold the College's core values of Compassion, Respect, Integrity and Courage. Through fundraisers such as this one, students experience Compassion in action, which is: "To be aware of suffering and be motivated to treat others with kindness, care and understanding."
Families can still donate to the Flinders flood-relief fundraiser until the end of Term 1 by contacting Reverend Kathrin Koning firstname.lastname@example.org