During the bushfire crisis, Lions Clubs throughout Australia have rallied to quietly provide bushfire support and leadership in affected communities.
“Where there’s a need there’s a lion,” is the motto of Lions Clubs International. Since inception more than 100 years ago local Lions clubs have become the trusted, quiet leaders in their communities.
201 V3 Lions District spokesperson Merrin Munroe says all Lions are volunteers and many of them have served the community throughout the bushfire crisis whilst themselves being evacuated from their properties.
Ms Munroe says the bushfire support for communities in East Gippsland, one of the areas hit hard by the bushfires crisis, is supported by the 201 V3 Lions district which runs from Mallacoota through Gippsland to the Mornington Peninsula.
“Each club is supported by the district, which in turn is supported by Lions Australia, and Lions International,” she says.
“The Australian Lions Foundation have given more than $125k as a district grant for bushfire relief to support the communities affected.”
Ms Munroe says since December, Lions clubs in East Gippsland have been catering for relief centres, collecting rubbish in Mallacoota, tools to head to Bruthen, and organising venues and food for public debriefings in various towns.
She says Lions volunteers have been supporting families, farmers and their local communities, not only with fundraisers like sausage sizzles, but also by being a friendly ear in times of need.
“Recently Lions from as far away as Geelong teamed up with the Freemasons in Bairnsdale and packed 68 pallets of food and water to go to fire affected areas,” she says.
Ms Munroes says the Lions Need for Feed project, which started in 2006, has been one the major suppliers of emergency fodder to feed livestock in fire affected areas.
“On the Australia Day weekend, there were four hay convoys that headed to different fire areas in two states, responding to actual requests for assistance providing around 17,500 bales of hay with a value of approximately $4.5 million,” she says.
“The hay runs have been invaluable in providing a lifeline and fodder to farmers in areas that are still not open to the public.”
She says Lions know bushfire support is going to be a need for assistance in the future.
“People are going to need many different types of support and the Local Lions clubs are there ready to assist in whatever way is required,” she says.