That’s exactly what happened following flooding in January 2022. Torrential rain fell across the region, with around 100 houses affected, ranging from minor damage through to flooding that rendered the buildings uninhabitable.
Secretary of Rutherglen Lodge, Bill Black, said the damage became very apparent in the days that followed the rain.
“We started to see carpet, furniture and electrical goods out on the front lawn, ruined and no longer usable. Yard fences were pushed over and we heard reports of people moving out of their homes and living in motels or B&Bs.”
With rental availability limited, insurance challenges and the hangover from COVID-19, many families were doing it really tough and it was clear they needed a hand.
In response, a local business owner instigated a fundraiser and joined forces with the Lions Club to run the “Rutherglen Rumble” - a car, truck and bike show on the Showgrounds. Then they called for sponsorship of prizes and donations to help flood victims in town.
Rutherglen Lodge’s members are active in the community, running a recycling enterprise with assistance from a local business, fundraising for initiatives including the Historical Society’s landscaping project, Variety Children’s Charity and Pankind, and for bursaries to students at the local secondary school. The Lodge contributed $550 to the flood recovery fund and also applied for a Masonic Grant which was successful in acquiring a further $5,000.
The Rutherglen Rumble event attracted thousands of people and in total, $50,000 was raised which was shared among 50 of the most affected households. For Sue and Mark Prescott, owners of the Woongarra Motel, the flood had not only devastated every unit of their motel, air-conditioning and fencing, but also their adjacent home, and 9 months later they had yet to receive any insurance money.
“The fundraising coordinated by the Rutherglen Lions Club and the notably generous donations from organisations such as Freemasons Foundation Victoria assisted us greatly in restoring the Motel and our livelihood and making our home habitable again. For that, we will forever be grateful.”
Another great example of the power of community!