Heartwarming acts of generosity and kindness remind us our community is home to some special people.

Take Jac Torres-Gomez and her six-year-old daughter Bella for example.

We had a little mystery going on when all these wonderful cash donations suddenly started arriving at Bendigo Community Health Services through the GiveNow fundraising page.

Turns out Jac and Bella had been talking about refugees in Bendigo and decided to celebrate a birthday they would contact family and friends with a special request:

“So ... I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks. I tend to get a bit reflective on my birthday and about my life and my place in the world around this time.  It might only seem a small thing to do but this year I would like to put some energy into supporting two refugee families newly arriving to Bendigo through Bendigo Community Health Services with clothing, bedding, school books and some basic personal hygiene products. Can anyone chip in a few birthday dollars to support these families too? My goal is $250.”

Jac said the conversation had come about because she wanted to share with Bella an understanding about our friends in Greater Bendigo from refugee backgrounds.

“One of Bella’s best friends at school is from a refugee background, so this meant a lot to her for this reason,’’ Jac said.

“People were INCREDIBLY generous, sending contributions from Bendigo and Victoria and as far as Sydney, Perth and Denmark in Scandinavia. It was really beautiful!”

Jac and Bella’s generosity saw them easily beat their fundraising target.

“Thrilled to say we met the goal and actually raised $365 – the kindness of people, hey?” Jac said.

Settlement Services team manager Martine Street thanked Jac, Bella and all those who donated for their incredible generosity and promised the money would support new refugee families.

Bendigo Community Health Services supported 368 new refugees of Karen, Afghan, Iran and South Sudanese backgrounds in 2018.

New families continue to arrive in Bendigo each month.

As well as helping refugees settle in Bendigo we provide ongoing and long-term support through our bulk-billed medical clinics, child and family programs, community nurses, allied health services and cultural diversity and relationships initiatives.

We can only imagine how heartwarming for these new families to see Bendigo people such as Jac and Bella doing such wonderful things to ensure they feel welcome, included and supported.

Yep, that’s why Bendigo is special and we should never forget it!

Jac does a lot to make people feel welcome in Bendigo in her working life as the Inclusive Communities Officer with the City of Greater Bendigo.