Familiar picture for me on a Sunday night – ironing school uniforms in front of the telly when a story about the drought came on Seven’s Sunday Night program. After watching this moving piece I soon realised I didn’t have a problem in the world, these families can barely feed themselves, are in debt up to their eyeballs and are having to make decisions every day about slaughtering their animals who can’t survive any longer without adequate food or water. And what made it really hit home was some of them were only a few hours drive from my home.
The story focussed on two charities, the Salvo’s and a much smaller grass roots organisation called Aussie Helpers. Brian and Nerida Egan lost their farm through a combination of drought and post traumatic stress Brian suffered as a young serviceman. Brian spent a year in Brisbane’s Greenslopes Hospital for veterans before a remark from a psychologist led to a remarkable turnaround. “Go and find somebody worse off than you are and see if you can help them,” he was told. The comment galvanised Brian and he decided, with his wife Nerida, to start a charity to take practical help right to the farm gate. He called it “Aussie Helpers’’. Aussie Helpers work around three words “care, share, respect” which simply means that Aussie Helpers care about people in need and will share whatever assistance they have available free of charge and will give the recipients the utmost respect and confidentiality.
I floated the idea of holding some sort of charity event at work the next morning and it was decided we would assist Aussie Helpers as much as we could, both in terms of raising funds and assisting them with getting the word out to the broader community in terms of CSA.
A small task force was formed and we decided to hold afternoon drinks and BBQ in OMD Brisbane’s outdoor carpark and invited all clients and media reps. Ironically on the day we had to move the event to our indoor carpark due to rain! What started as a smallish event grew with our friends at ARN arranging for country singer and Brisbane resident Troy-Cassar Daley to attend and entertain and his wife, Laurel Edwards breakfast announcer on Brisbane’s 4KQ to draw the raffles and announce the winners of the silent auctions. Many of our major clients donated some great prizes for raffles and auction. Around 100 people attended and we raised $3,700 in a little over two hours. Since then we have met with the founder of Aussie Helpers, Brian Egan and one of our creative partners who are going to create some media assets which we will endeavour to gain some CSA for them so we can continue to support their organisation.
It was hard work arranging the event but a great feeling to be supporting a worth-while cause. Special thanks to OMDer’s Jemma Parkes, Leah Morris, Megan Stenner and Lynley Waters for their assistance in organising and cleaning up – we all slept well that night!
Also thanks to:
ARN for arranging country artist and Brisbane resident Troy-Cassar Daley and Laurel Edwards of 4KQ
Nine Network for providing a new BBQ for our office and a gazebo
Ooh media helped out with some of the alcohol
APN Newspapers provided 6 bales of hay for props
Coles West End provided a $100 food voucher
Baker’s Delight provided discount on bread
And special thanks to our clients:
Theme Parks, Australia Zoo, Vita Group, Lenan Corporation, Qld Cricket, Eclipse – Four Point Brisbane Sheraton, Michael Hill Jeweller, Treasury, Jupiters and Trade Tools for donating prizes.