Wingham CBA Drought Appeal

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Wingham CBA drought appeal goal doubled! It’s amazing what a small town can do when efforts are combined. We chat with Jaimie Mathiske, Wingham Branch Manager, about the outstanding results.

It’s possibly the worst drought on record. What led you to start raising support for our drought stricken farmers?

Our Moree branch manager, Marla Hosegood, heard from one of our drought-affected customers, who told her a heart-breaking story. She was determined to do something to help and asked if we could help her raise money for the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners, to help drought stricken farmers. Of course, our Wingham team wanted to help for many reasons; first and foremost, because we are a farming community and we know how important farmers are, so we decided we could try to raise $15,000.

How did you go about raising the funds?

We had so many ideas. Firstly, we decided to do a “Wear a flannelette shirt to work” day and held a sausage sizzle outside the bank. The support was fantastic: the whole Wingham community got involved and wore their “flannies” that day. I can’t tell you how many trips I made to the butcher to get more snags for the barbie. 

Secondly, we built a farming themed display with a scarecrow and tractor in our branch and a fundraising thermometer to track donations. We invited customers to donate $20 to buy a hay bale. 

Finally, I asked the businesses in Wingham if they wanted to donate any items towards a raffle. This sparked ideas and an outpouring of community support, including a “mufti day” at school and of course, we also ran a meat raffle night. 

The fundraising night was a huge success; what was the highlight?

Seeing how amazing the Wingham community is. So many people came with family and friends to show their support. Every ticket for the meat raffle was sold out. 

You doubled your goal of $15,000. What was the final tally – and were you surprised?

Absolutely surprised. I have always known our Wingham community is caring and generous, but given we are only a small community of about 5,000 people, the final tally of more than $30,000 is a massive result.

What do you think this says about our local community?

This shows that we may be a small community; however, we can achieve anything when we work together.

Can you tell us where the proceeds are going and how they will benefit our farmers?

All funds raised in Regional NSW and ACT Commonwealth Bank branches will be going towards the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners. They do inspiring and important work by supporting farms across the region. The largest hay run they did was in April 2016, which used 258 trucks and 406 trailers to deliver $6 million of hay, feeding 300,000 animals. I understand the next hay run will be in 2019, and we are just so thrilled to be able to do our bit for the farmers. 

What role did the CBA play, and was this a nation-wide effort by the bank?

This has been a national effort by our people, customers and communities. The fundraising started in Regional NSW/ACT, and collectively our branches raised more than $40,000 in one week. The customer feedback, engagement and generosity was overwhelming. 

Following our month long campaign, CBA’s fundraising for the drought relief appeal with Australian Red Cross has now raised more than $9.1 million, thanks to the generosity of customer donations. We all feel very proud of being able to do our bit to help customers.

Apart from the community support, are there particular organisations, businesses or individuals you would like to thank?

There are so many people I would like to thank individually, but the ones I need to say a huge thank you to are: Wingham Rotary, Linga Longa Farm, Coles Wingham, Wingham Gourmet Meat & Chicken, Coffee on Isabella, Wingham Hay Shed, Beautique on Bella, Ashlea Rd, TSG tobacco Station, Boydies Camping Fishing Hunting, McKeoughs Betta Electrical, Wingham Hotel, Woven Willow, Country Clothing and Embroidery, Wingham RSL Services Club, Forever Yours scented gifts, Wingham Plaza Butchery, Browns Lawn Mowing, Bayview Seafood Staff, LJ Hooker Wingham, Dress Ups, Knorrit Flat Camp, Celebrations Wingham, Wingham Eyecare, Captured by Rachel Photography, Wingham Newsagency, Wingham Caltex, Sunnyside Café, Chapmand and Wood Pharmacy, Sophie’s Heritage Blooms, Antiques and Collectibles, Body Health and Strength Fitness Wingham, St Joseph’s School Wingham, Wingham Brush Public School, Pottsy’s Bakery, Cundletown Gourmet Meat & Chicken, Manningnet Ladies, Wingham Bowling Club, Wingham District Kindergarten Preschool, 2RE, Midcoast Council and Wingham Chronicle and the community. All the people in these local businesses and organisations played an important part in reaching the fundraising figure we did. 

Are there any future plans to continue the great work you started?

At this stage we do not have any plans, but this doesn’t mean I will not do it again!

If people would like still to support our farmers, how can they do so?

Customers can still make a donation to the Burrumbuttock Hay Runners in any regional NSW/ACT branch, or alternatively, they can support the Red Cross Appeal in branch or by direct deposit to:

Account name Australian Red Cross Donations Account
BSB 063-000
Account number 12981023
Ref CommBank Drought Relief Fund

Thanks Jaimie.

Interview: Bronwyn Davis.

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