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Freemasons support Rochester and Shepparton in flood recovery

$215,000 gifted plus 300 blankets distributed to families living in caravans

Flooding in 2022 at the Rumbalara Football Netball Club in Shepparton

8 June 2023: Freemasons Foundation Victoria has announced that it is gifting $180,000 to support people impacted by the Victorian 2022 floods. In addition, they have also purchased 300 blankets to be distributed to Rochester families living in caravans, providing practical support as we head into the depths of winter.

These grants are part of the $700,000 flood relief commitment that Freemasons Foundation Victoria and Freemasons Victoria made in October 2022.

The grants announced include:

  • Dungala Kaiela Foundation will receive $50,000 for emergency relief for First Nations families disadvantaged by floods.

  • FareShare will receive $50,000 for their emergency relief program, which includes delivering cooked meals to Rochester families. This centralised food support is a very efficient system for people not yet living in fully functional facilities and has the added benefit of enhancing mental health via social interaction.

  • Rochester Community House will receive $50,000 for emergency relief, which includes procuring sought after items such as heaters, clothes dryers and blankets to increase comfort of families through the winter.

  • The Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project is also assisting people in the region with emergency relief and will receive $30,000.

The 300 blankets will be distributed directly by Freemasons Foundation Victoria to displaced community members living at the Elmore Field Day site. It’s a tangible form of support to the directly affected, and the blankets will continue to be useful when these people get back into new accommodation.

Since the funding was pledged last October, grants have also been made to Rochester Primary School to help them establish a wellbeing reset facility ($25,000) and Rochester Cemetery Trust to help with repairs ($10,000).

Rodney Lavin JP, Chairman of Freemasons Foundation Victoria, said that the Foundation and Freemasons Victoria are committed to rebuilding the Victorian communities hit by floods.

“We have seen, first-hand, the devastating impact that these floods have had on so many Victorians. Our vision is a healthier and stronger Victoria, so we knew we had to provide whatever support we could to these communities.

“The grants are going to groups on the ground that are providing support to the people who need it most. We’re honoured to be able to support these community programs and organisations as they continue to deal with the impacts of the floods,” Mr Lavin said.

John Glover, a senior Freemason from Echuca, has been helping Freemasons Foundation Victoria and Freemasons Victoria to identify local initiatives.

“Our focus has been on finding projects that are having a direct and immediate impact on those who have been affected by the floods. Each of these community-led programs will use the grant funds in a way that will directly benefit flood victims and provide them with vital resources,” Mr Glover said.


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