Located in South Australia's Limestone Coast, MiniJumbuk has a long and proud history built around the thriving regional town of Naracoorte. After more than 40 years in the town, MiniJumbuk still feels privileged to be involved in such and amazing kind and generous community.
Following the horrific bushfires Australia experienced this summer, the company was approached to gauge interest in bringing back the successful Dollars 4 Doonas program. First run in 2009 after Victoria's Black Saturday bushfires, the program provided wool quilts and pillows to families whose homes were destroyed by fire. This time, the Naracoorte community wished to help devastated South Australians.
Four months later, and just in time for winter, the generosity of the people of Naracoorte and surrounding districts has raised an incredible $70,000 and seen hundreds of wool bedding packages delivered to families at Keilira, Cuddlee Creek, Kangaroo Island and Yorke Peninsula.
Fom the beginnning, the project has been driven by the people, and MiniJumbuk Managing Director, Darren Turner, says the response to the fundraising campaign has been overwhelming. 'We thought this would be a great way for the community to come together and provide a unique gift that would have a lasting impact on those who have lost their homes. However, we weren't prepared for just how generous the community would be.'
The local Hazara community was one of the first to donate, when it handed organisers a cheque for $17,000. TEYS Australia donated a jet ski, to be raffled at a Multi-Cultural fundraising cricket match. While the match was unfortunately cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, the raffle went ahead raising a substantial $30,000.
Dollars 4 Doonas Committee Chair, Malcolm McEachern said it wasn't just businesses that dug deep for the appeal. 'We had school kids emptying their piggy banks of coins and families making a $50 donation. These are difficult and uncertain times, and despite that, people still gave what they could. I am quite simply in awe of our community spirit and generosity.'
Local school children were tasked with the creation of the packaging. Brightly coloured, hand drawn inserts, complete with thoughtful messages and good wishes were a special, personal touch greatly appreciated by the recipent families. Coordinated by the local Recovery Centres in each fire affected area, the distribution of quilts has been a heart-warming and emotional experience for those involved.
The success of the fundraising saw the target exceeded within 6 weeks, so with funds to spare, the committee sought feedback from the local Keilira community. Ease of access to firefighting water was rapidly identified as a key issue for the region. In an endeavour to 'future proof' some of our more isolated areas, the committee is currently negotiating to provide community water tanks to outlying districts of Naracoorte and Lucindale, with the aim of keeping communities safer in the event of future bushfires.