Thank you Bendigo!
A record 2773 items have been donated to our Bendigo Community Coat Drive this year - what a truly amazing result.
The total easily surpassed the previous record of 2300 items in 2016.
Our CEO Gerard José praised the wonderful display of generosity from the Bendigo and regional communities.
“The kindness of the community has allowed us to help the disadvantaged, many new refugees making a home in our city and the elderly looking to keep warm at a time when sadly some are being forced to decide between heating and food," Mr José said.
“The extraordinary number of donations this year has also allowed us to support valuable partners such as headspace Bendigo, Haven Home Safe and the Eaglehawk Community House meaning more people are getting access to coats to beat the winter chill.”
Mr José praised the effort of Pristine Dry Cleaners to clean every item before distribution.
“Our coat drive could not happen without Pristine Dry Cleaners. When you consider the effort and cost needed to clean 2773 items you get an idea of the hard work put in by the Pristine team and the true value of their ‘in kind’ support,” he said.
“Jane and the team at Pristine certainly went above and beyond this year to clean the record number of coats and they should be very proud of what they have done for the community. They are wonderful ambassadors for the business community in Bendigo.”
Mr José said a partnership with AFL Central Victoria was another key factor in the record number of donations.
“From the day we launched the campaign AFL Central Victoria, all their clubs have been a wonderful support. How fantastic to see young people at those clubs running their own mini coat drives. Thank you to AFL Central Victoria and every single club, player or supporter who helped the coat drive this year,” he said.
Mr José said the Bendigo Community Coat Drive always generated inspiring stories.
“Every person who donates an item inspires us but there are a few highlights to share this year,” he said. “Marong Primary School captain Logan run his own mini coat drive at the school to support the campaign and Knit4Charities made our coat drive their charity of choice encouraging members across Australia to lovingly knit or crochet beanies, scarves and gloves.
“The 2773 items doesn’t include seven boxes of brand new Huski polo fleece windcheaters donated by Bolton Brothers Bendigo after coming to look at our Fork In The Road community hub and hearing about the difference our Thursday Soup Kitchen is making.
“We got some wonderful support from the local media in raising awareness of the coat drive this year too which is really important.
“Thank you to every single person who played a role in making our Bendigo Community Coat Drive more successful than we could ever have imagined this year.
“If we could share the look on the faces of people who come to our sites and choose a warm coat before heading off back out into the cold – you would get a true understanding of the enormous difference your kindness and generosity makes. On behalf of our board and staff … thank you all.”
If you know someone in need free coats are still available from Bendigo Community Health Services sites at 165-171 Hargreaves Street in Bendigo, 3 Seymoure Street in Eaglehawk and 19 Helm Street in Kangaroo Flat.