Community

Greek Orthodox Archdiocese donates $325,000 to Bega bushfire fund

Dominic Giannini6 July 2020
Burnt bushland in Bega Valley.

Bega Valley was one of Australia’s worst affected regions from bushfires during the summer of 2019/2020. Photo: Supplied.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has donated $325,000 to the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund following the past summer’s devastating bushfires that killed at least three people and destroyed 466 homes in the region.

Of that donation, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has directly contributed $148,000, and its Greek Orthodox Charitable Foundation has donated a further $177,000 in an effort to relieve human suffering stemming from the crisis after almost two-thirds of the region was impacted.

“We are proud of the generosity and spirit of compassion shown by our Greek Orthodox faithful,” said His Eminence Archbishop Makarios of Australia.

“[They] immediately responded to the call of the church for donations as a practical expression of our solidarity with the people of this nation and their suffering during the devastating summer bushfires.”

The donation equates to more than half of the Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund’s deposits, which was sitting at around $600,000 on 18 May.

The fund focuses on areas where residents may have fallen through the cracks of state and federal recovery efforts by addressing any unmet needs in the Bega Valley Shire, including everyday health and wellbeing issues.

Items such as fuel, firewood, household appliances and clothing can be obtained through the fund by people who are struggling following the bushfires.

Archbishop Makarios of Australia sitting in chair.

Archbishop Makarios of Australia says the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese donation is to help relieve human suffering caused by the past summer’s bushfires. Photo: Supplied.

Bega Valley Shire Council Mayor, and Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund co-chair, Sharon Tapscott, said the community is overwhelmed by the support of the Greek Orthodox community.

“We are extremely grateful to the Greek Orthodox people and the Archdiocese of Australia for their substantial donation,” said Mayor Tapscott.

“We thank Archbishop Makarios of Australia for choosing to support Bega Valley from the funds raised through their bushfire appeal and we assure the Greek Orthodox people that it will be put to good use.”

Chair of Social Justice Advocates of the Sapphire Coast, Mick Brosnan OAM, said the fund – of which he is also a co-chair – would focus on repercussions of the Bega Valley bushfires in the immediate future.

“At the moment we are trialling an efficient application, approval and delivery process for grants with the Cobargo community,” he said.

“Once we have the grant application and distribution process established, we plan on rolling out support more widely from July 2020.”

The fund is jointly managed by Bega Valley Shire Council and Social Justice Advocates. A webpage is still being established as a point for further information.

In the meantime, more information can be obtained from council’s website.

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