Lions Generosity Closes out 2014 Fires Appeal

At a Traralgon Lions Club meeting held last week, Doug Caulfield was presented with a cheque for $10,000 by Lions Club president Wendy Rudin.   GERF was one of three community organisations to benefit from the fundraising efforts of the Club.   In thanking the Club for their generosity, Mr Caulfield said the $10,000 donation would help replenish some of the funds given to Gippslanders at their time of need.   “This year GERF has paid out $160,000 to the fire victims from Westbury, Hernes Oak, Jack River and East Gippsland fires.   When something bad happens in Gippsland to our community  we immediately step in and, on the recommendation of the local government emergency management team we provide people with money up front.”  Mr Caulfield said.

The 2014 Fires Appeal was launched in February and has now, with the generosity of Gippsland community members, businesses and organisations, reached $160,000 in donations.   Mr Caulfield also thanked the broader Gippsland community and media outlets for their support during the Appeal “which has been one of the most challenging for us”.

Every donation counts

Each school term the Moe Social Club of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s South-Eastern Victoria Regional Office raises money for a local charity.

During Term 1 they held an Egg and Bacon Breakfast, a Pancake Breakfast and a Dress Down Friday event, as well as an Easter Raffle.   On Tuesday, all the money raised was presented to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.  The total raised was $748.60 which includes $116 raised by the Dandenong Social Club from their Easter Raffle.

Robyne Snell said “We know the devastating effects that fires have in Gippsland, some of our schools and kindergartens have been significantly impacted this year. We also know the important role that GERF plays in providing immediate relief to those Gippslanders that are affected each year.   We’re pleased to be able to contribute to the Fund.”

In accepting the donation from the members of the social club, Lynda Bertoli of GERF expressed thanks and appreciation of the generosity, creativity and enthusiasm of the DEECD South-Eastern Victoria Regional team.

The hardworking members of the social club pictured from left: Selena Knipping, Leah Arbon, Lynda Bertoli (GERF), Robyne Snell, Nicola Stuart, Katie Parnell, Lynne Venning and Erin Davidson.

2014 Gippsland Fires Appeal boosted by $50,000 donation

Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) 2014 Gippsland Fires Appeal funding has been boosted by a $50,000 contribution by GDF SUEZ Australia Energy.

GERF Deputy President, Lynda Bertoli, said the contribution was most welcomed and was a major boost to the current appeal.

GDF SUEZ Hazelwood, People, Culture and Environment Director, Steve Harkins hands over the donation to GERF Deputy Presidents Lynda Bertoli and Doug Caulfield

“This significant donation by GDF SUEZ Australian Energy will boost our current appeal which was launched in February following the many fires across the region, and people affected as a consequence.

“Over $160,000 has been disbursed to Gippslanders affected by fires this year providing emergency relief and support to those who have lost homes, buildings, personal property, fencing and livestock in separate fires at Driffield, Westbury, Jack River and East Gippsland.

“GDF SUEZ Australian Energy through their Latrobe Valley assets, Hazelwood and Loy Yang B, have been long-term supporters of GERF having contributed over $230,000 in recovery efforts following natural disasters in Gippsland, including fires in 2013 and 2009 and we thank them for their ongoing support,” she said.

GDF SUEZ Hazelwood, People, Culture and Environment Director, Steve Harkins handed over the donation to GERF Deputy Presidents Lynda Bertoli and Doug Caulfield on Tuesday, where he acknowledged the work GERF has carried out supporting the Gippsland community in their time of need having disbursed more than $5 million over the past 15 years.

Lynda Bertoli thanked those individuals and organisations who have generously donated to the appeal to date with the total of donations exceeding $70,000.

“We have all seen over the years the effects of fire and floods on the people of Gippsland, and how important it is to respond quickly and to help people in their time of need. The generosity of Gippslanders makes it possible for GERF to provide relief and assistance.”

GERF is a registered charitable organization with donations being tax deductible and 100 per cent of all donations used to directly help Gippsland residents impacted from the fires.

Donations to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund can be made in two ways:

  • Via post to Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, PO Box 508, TRARALGON, VIC, AUSTRALIA, 3844
  • Via PayPal by following the link on the GERF website at www.relieffund.org.au

Esso and BHP Billiton donation boosts 2014 Gippsland Fires Appeal

Esso and BHP Billiton have confirmed a $15,000 joint venture contribution to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) in support of the 2014 Gippsland Fires Appeal.

Esso Longford Plant's Manager, Monte Olson, donates $15,000 to GERF, accepted by Doug Caulfield, Deputy President of GERF. Also pictured, the host of the event, Cr Scott Rossetti, Mayor of Wellington Shire.

GERF has established a special Gippsland Fires Appeal to provide emergency relief and support to those who have lost homes, buildings, personal property, fencing and livestock.

John Mitchell, GERF President, said the Esso and BHP Billiton contribution is one of the first major corporate donations to the GERF Appeal.

“The $15,000 donation from Esso and BHP Billiton is a major boost to our Appeal and their ongoing support is greatly appreciated and valued. These funds will be quickly distributed to help families and communities recover from the devastating impact of the fires,” he said.

Esso and BHP Billiton have been long-term supporters of GERF and have contributed over $155,000 to recovery efforts following natural disasters in Gippsland, including the fires and floods in 2013, 2009 and 2007.

Esso Longford Plant’s Manager, Monte Olson, will hand over the donation at a formal launch event in Sale next week hosted by Wellington Shire Council Mayor, Cr Scott Rossetti, and attended by mayors from other affected municipalities, i.e. East Gippsland, Latrobe City and Baw Baw. [The event will be held at 10.00 am, Friday, 28 February 2014 in the Esso BHP Billiton Entertainment Centre in Sale – media are invited to attend].

John Mitchell urged individuals and organisations to donate generously to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

“We live in one of the most disaster-affected areas in Australia and because of that, we know how important it is to respond quickly to help people in their time of need.”

The Gippsland Fires Appeal will provide assistance to people living in Gippsland who suffer injury, loss or damage from the fires. GERF is a registered charitable organisation with donations being tax deductible and 100 percent of all donations used to directly help Gippsland residents impacted from the fires.

GERF has been active in the Gippsland Region since it was established in 1978 and has raised and disbursed more than $5M to the Gippsland community over the last 15 years.

2014 Gippsland Fires Appeal Launched

The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund has launched an appeal to support people affected by the fires that are continuing to affect communities across parts of Gippsland.

The last few weeks of hot, dry weather have resulted in a situation familiar to Gippslanders.

Fortunately, there has been no loss of life but many people have been affected with loss of property, farms, homes, livestock, shedding and fencing. People have been affected in Baw Baw, Latrobe and Wellington communities, while East Gippslanders are still in the midst of a bushfire that has not yet been controlled.

Land near Lindenow in East Gippsland (ABC Gippsland: Jenni Henderson)

President, John Mitchell, urged individuals and organisations to donate generously to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

“GERF focuses on helping to meet people’s immediate needs for food, clothing, utensils, furniture, bedding and fencing, rather than capital items which may be covered by insurance or government aid. We have already provided funds to people affected by the Westbury fire and, today, have made payments to severely affected people in East Gippsland and Wellington Shires. We are anticipating many more requests for assistance over the next few days and weeks,” Mr Mitchell said in launching the 2014 Gippsland Fires Appeal.

The Fund provides relief and assistance to people living in the Gippsland municipalities of Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Latrobe, Baw Baw, Wellington and East Gippsland who suffer injury, loss or damage from natural disasters. To date, 36 disbursements have been made to people affected by the 2014 fires.

“We are driven to provide rapid support to our fellow Gippslanders in their times of need,” Mr Mitchell said, “I call on all Gippslanders and the wider community to help, either by making a direct cash donation or running a fundraising event.”

The Fund is a registered charitable organisation (registered number A0020241A) making all donations tax deductible. All donations are returned to the community and no costs are deducted for administration.

Requests for assistance from GERF are managed via Municipal Emergency Recovery Officers. Impacted property owners should contact their local government authority. Affected Council contact numbers are listed below.

East Gippsland Shire Council: 03 5153 9500
Wellington Shire Council: 1300 137 218 (Recovery Office line)
Latrobe City Council: 1300 367 700
Baw Baw Shire Council: 03 5624 2411

Morwell Masonic Lodge raised $1,000

The Morwell Masonic Lodge and its members have donated $1,000 to support communities which were impacted by Gippsland bushfires.

Gary Wellsmore presenting Lynda Bertoli with the cheque, with David Grant looking on

The Gippsland Emergency Relieft Fund has helped secure vital funds for those affected by bushfires earlier in the year.

The Morwell Masonic Lodge raised $1,000 through its members and Freemasons Victoria’s Board of Benevolence for charity and elected to contribute the money raised to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

John Huxtable, of the Morwell Masonic Lodge, said “we wanted to choose a local organisation that’s doing great work for local communities and the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund fitted that description.”

Latrobe Chorale Raised Funds for GERF

The recent concert by the Latrobe Chorale titled ‘Night at the Opera’ has resulted in the group being able to donate $1,767.00 towards the ongoing work of the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

Pictured is GERF President, John Mitchell, and Latrobe Chorale President, Ian Moore

The concert was hosted by local ABC radio presenter Celine Foenander and featured solo works by local pianist Stephen van der Hoek, harpist Naomi Mattyssen, and three young singers from within the Latrobe Valley.

GDF SUEZ Australian Energy Loy Yang B Power Station donates to GERF

GDF SUEZ Australian Energy Loy Yang B Power Station management and employees have donated generously to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) to help assist Gippslanders affected by last summer’s bushfires.

Pictured from left: Simon Trebilcock, Michelle Ketchion (GDF Suez) and John Mitchell, Alan Wilson (GERF)

Pictured are Simon Trebilcock, General Manager Finance and Michelle Ketchion, Sponsorship & Donations Program Coordinator, who handed over a cheque for $14,690 to GERF President John Mitchell, and GERF Hon Treasurer, Alan Wilson.

Loy Yang B employees donated $3,230 to GERF with the Company matching all employee donations two-to-one. The further $6,460 was on top of an initial $5,000 donation the Company made when the fund was re-established in January.

Mr Mitchell said, “We are extremely grateful and overwhelmed by the generosity shown by Loy Yang B and its employees in helping us help those families affected. This generous donation will enable us to continue to support local families and assist them to recover from the property losses they incurred as a result of the Aberfeldy Fires”

Steve Rieniets, Loy Yang B Head of Operations and Generation, said “the Company was proud of its employees for their generous donations to the relief fund, and Loy Yang B was thrilled to be able to boost that donation significantly.”

GERF aid still available for bushfire victims

Assistance is still available from the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund for people affected by the 2013 Aberfeldy bushfire.

GERF has made more than 40 disbursements from its bushfire appeal, mainly to farming properties, farmers and other people affected by the fire in the Seaton and Heyfield areas.

However, GERF President, John Mitchell, said he believed there were many more affected farms, individuals and properties that were eligible for assistance. He urged those affected to apply for assistance via the Municipal Recovery Office at Wellington Shire.

Mr Mitchell said he was relieved that the fire, which has been burning out of control for over a month, has finally been contained. The fire burned more than 85,000 hectares, destroying property and livestock and killing one man.

He said the Fund’s appeal has generated almost $250,000 in donations.

“This is a tremendously generous community response considering the number of other natural disasters taking place across Australia at the same time,” Mr Mitchell said.

“The Fund has received significant donations from individuals in South and Central Gippsland, from the Sisters of Mercy at Lewishaw in New South Wales, as well as from corporations and their employees. Community based organisations have run and are continuing to run fund raising events.”

Mr Mitchell stressed that 100% of donations are distributed to the community.

A total of 139 donations have been received to date via our website, 375 via direct deposit and 377 via the post.

More than $100,000 has been received by corporations and their employees operating in Gippsland:

  • Esso Australia
  • Silcar Yallourn
  • AGL Loy Yang
  • GDF Suez Loy Yang B
  • Energy Australia Yallourn
  • ASIC Employee Community

Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund is continuing to accept donations. See the panel at the right for information on how to contribute.

ENERGYAUSTRALIA donates to Gippsland Bushfire Appeal

Yallourn Power Station owner EnergyAustralia and its employees have donated $12,020 to support Gippsland communities impacted by this summer’s devastating bushfire.

Mark Pearson presents cheque to GERF

Mark Pearson (EnergyAustralia) presents a cheque for $12,020 to Lynda Bertoli of GERF

As part of its commitment to support the communities where it operates, EnergyAustralia has provided $8510 to the Gippsland Bushfire Appeal, run by the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF). Employees raised $3510, which was matched dollar-for-dollar by EnergyAustralia.

The appeal supports people affected by a major bushfire that is continuing to burn across Gippsland.

So far the fire has claimed homes and there has been extensive loss of livestock and damage to other buildings and property.

Executive Manager, Yallourn, Mark Pearson said EnergyAustralia was committed to supporting the community in which EnergyAustralia operated and in which our employees live.

“The bushfire has had a huge impact on the Gippsland community and our employees wanted to find a way to help those whose lives have been so severely affected,” Mr Pearson said.

“The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund’s previous work has helped thousands of people through difficult times, and that’s why we were keen to donate to this appeal that will make a real difference to those who need support.”

GERF President John Mitchell praised the generosity of Energy Australia and its employees in this donation.

“It is a particularly significant donation from the people and management of Energy Australia,” Mr Mitchell said.

“These funds will be provided to those who have had their property destroyed by the Aberfeldy bushfire.

“Much of it will go toward replacing household property or, in many cases, fencing, shedding and water tanks.

“The Gippsland community is resilient and our Fund is proud to play its part in ensuring we help our affected neighbours during times of natural disaster, whether it is from bushfire, flood or storm.”

The Fund was established in the 1978 following the Ash Wednesday fires with the aim of providing immediate financial relief to our fellow Gippslanders and we can only do this if we raise the funds to distribute.

“We’re aiming to raise $200,000 in this Bushfire Appeal and have already made significant distributions. We thank you for your contribution.”

The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund is a registered charitable organisation (registered number A0020241A) and all donations are tax deductible.

Lyrebird Villagers raise money for Gippslanders

1 March 2013

The residents of Lyrebird Village (Lyrebird Village for the Aged in Drouin) held an afternoon tea and raised over $600.

Back row left to right - Robyn Dossett, Glenda Aurisch, Denice Johnson, Janice Batman, Alan WilsonFront row left to right - Charlie Thomson, Valda Leslie, Bill Palmer

This was the first community event that the Lyrebird Villagers had held; entertainment was provided for all present, and $605.00 was raised. The residents stipulated they wanted the money from Gippslanders to go to Gippslanders, and in presenting those funds raised to GERF, they have achieved exactly that.

AGL provides bushfire relief

13 February 2013

AGL has donated $8840 to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) to help people impacted by the Gippsland bushfires.

Acting Merchant Chief Operating Officer Dale Blampied presents $8,640 to GERF President John Mitchell

The donation included $5000 from AGL and employee donations of $1920 which were matched dollar for dollar by AGL.

Acting Merchant Chief Operating Officer Dale Blampied presented a cheque to GERF President John Mitchell earlier this week.

“AGL and Loy Yang both have a long history of supporting communities at times of need and we are pleased to be able to provide assistance to those in the community who have been hit hard by the bushfires,” said Dale.

“We’d also like to acknowledge the volunteers involved with GERF for their efforts in raising funds to help our community when they most need it.”

John Mitchell thanked AGL for their contribution which will be used to help people’s immediate needs including food, clothing, furniture, bedding and getting children back to school.

John urged individuals and organisations in Gippsland to support those who have suffered fire damage to their homes, stock and belongings by making a much-needed donation.

The Fund is a registered charitable organisation (registered number A0020241A) making all donations tax deductible. All donations are returned to the community and no costs are deducted for administration.

Esso and BHP Billiton donation boosts Gippsland Bushfire Appeal

23 January 2013

The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) today received a $30,000 donation from Esso and BHP Billiton.

Esso donation to GERF

Presentation of cheque by Esso and BHP Billiton to G.E.R.F.

GERF has established a special Gippsland Bushfire Appeal to provide emergency relief and support to those who have lost homes, buildings, personal property, fencing and livestock.

John Mitchell, GERF President, said that the Esso and BHP Billiton contribution is the first major corporate donation to the GERF Appeal.

“The $30,000 donation from Esso and BHP Billiton is a major boost to our Appeal and their ongoing support is greatly appreciated and valued. These funds will be quickly distributed to help families and local businesses recover from the devastating impact of the fires,” he said.

Esso and BHP Billiton have been long term supporters of GERF and have contributed over $140,000 to recovery efforts following natural disasters in Gippsland, including the fires and floods in 2009 and 2007.

SP AusNet presents cheque to Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund

31 January 2013

Gippsland’s electricity distribution business, SP AusNet, presented a $10,000 cheque to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) to assist local residents impacted by the Alberfeldy bushfires that continue across Gippsland.

SP_Ausnet

SP AusNet Eastern Regional Manager Jim Haylock presenting $10,000 to GERF Chairman, John Mitchell

GERF provides relief and assistance to people living in the Gippsland municipalities of Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Latrobe, Baw Baw, Wellington and East Gippsland who suffer loss or damage from natural disasters.

SP AusNet Eastern Regional Manager Jim Haylock presented the cheque to GERF Chairman, John Mitchell, on Tuesday, 5th February, 2013.

“Being part of the Gippsland community, SP AusNet sees first-hand the positive impact the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund has on helping Gippsland residents manage the effects of natural disasters,” Mr Haylock said.

“SP AusNet has a strong presence in the Gippsland area and we are pleased to be able to once again provide some assistance to the people within our community. Hopefully this cheque provides some welcome community relief.

“We’d also like to thank our impacted customers for their patience as we worked hard to reconnect the power supply, including the Country Fire Authority and State Emergency Service for their support,” he said.

“Many people have been hard hit by the bushfires across Gippsland,” Mr Haylock said. “GERF focuses on helping to meet people’s immediate needs for food, clothing, utensils, furniture, bedding etc and is an important community organisation in the Gippsland region.”

Mr Mitchell, in accepting the cheque, praised SP AusNet for its ongoing support of GERF funding events.

“SP AusNet has demonstrated continual commitment to the Gippsland community during our times of need. They have been a generous contributor to our appeals and a valued partner in our efforts to assist the impacted families and businesses to re-establish themselves following fire and flood events.

“This donation will be put to immediate use in assisting Gippslanders who have been affected by the Aberfeldy bushfire,” he said.

Gippsland Fires, January 2013

The Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund has launched an appeal to support people affected by the major bushfire that is continuing to affect communities across parts of Gippsland.

President, John Mitchell, urged individuals and organisations to donate generously to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund.

Preliminary assessment of the damage indicates more than 17 houses, extensive shedding, fencing and livestock loss.

“Many people have been hard hit by the bushfires across Gippsland,” Mr Mitchell said, “GERF focuses on helping to meet people’s immediate needs for food, clothing, utensils, furniture, bedding and getting children back to school, rather than capital items which may be covered by insurance or government aid.”

The Fund provides relief and assistance to people living in the Gippsland municipalities of Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Latrobe, Baw Baw, Wellington and East Gippsland who suffer injury, loss or damage from natural disasters.

GERF has a strong record of providing assistance to Gippslanders, even as natural disasters continue to unfold across the region.

There is heightened concern for potential further losses as the fire is not controlled and hot and dry weather conditions continue.

“As a community organisation, we are well placed to provide rapid support to our fellow Gippslanders in their times of need,” Mr Mitchell said, “I call on all Gippslanders and the wider community to dig deep now and help, either by making a direct cash donation or running a fundraising event.”

Requests for assistance from GERF are managed via municipal emergency recovery officers. Impacted property owners should contact their local government authority. Affected Council contact numbers are listed below.

Wellington Shire Council: 1300 137 218 (Recovery Office line)
Latrobe City Council: 1300 367 700
Baw Baw Shire Council: 03 5624 2411