Assistance was provided to cover everyday living expenses and back to school costs including grocery packs or vouchers, book lists and school supplies, swimming lessons, and uniform and school fee assistance.
School leaders in far western schools say their communities had been overwhelmed by the support shown from Catholic schools throughout the diocese and the assistance helped relieve some of the everyday stress and uncertainty associated with living in prolonged drought.
Principal of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Blackall, Joanne Davison said although country people were extraordinarily resilient the assistance offered had been gratefully received.
“It’s very hard to adequately express the depth of gratitude felt and the impact this giving has had on some of our struggling families,” Mrs Davison said.
“It’s not just the relief associated with everyday living costs, but more significantly the emotional and psychological boost of knowing they are not alone and that provides hope and helps preserve the resolve to carry on,” Mrs Davison said.
Principal of Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School in Longreach, Mrs Tanya Lambley, said the school had just completed major capital works which provided a wonderful sense of security for the school community.
“Our renovations together with the assistance packages have done wonders to keep a real sense of hope in the face of such adversity,” Mrs Lambley said.
“It has been a very challenging time for many of our families and some who have never asked for help before are now reaching out for assistance. On behalf of Our Lady’s Catholic Primary School I wish to say a big thank you for the amazing drought appeal donations made possible through all the Catholic school communities in our Diocese,” Mrs Lambley said.
Principal of St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School Anne Wachtel said the outpouring of assistance was truly heart-warming and served to lift the spirits of the community.
“The financial support for our families as well as the local community and businesses has made a real difference in their lives,” Mrs Wachtel said.
“These generous donations and acts of kindness are so much appreciated by our families in this time of drought,” Mrs Wachtel said.
Catholic Education Diocesan Director Leesa Jeffcoat said goods and services donated to families were purchased from local businesses to help boost trade and activity in those communities most impacted by the drought in the diocese.
“We hope the measures have offered some relief to families and also provided some assistance to local business in our rural and remote communities,” Miss Jeffcoat said.
“It has been a harrowing time for our western communities and we hope and pray for substantial rain over prolonged periods to restore the land and return productivity and progress to these regions,” Miss Jeffcoat said.