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Multicultural community digs deep for bushfire relief

Multicultural community digs deep for bushfire relief

Multicultural community digs deep for bushfire relief

3 February 2020

Lieut-Colonel Xuyen Pho (centre front) and Leanne Wong (with Red Shield on shirt) accept a donation for almost $13,000 from Lim's Pharmacy and The Cambodian Buddhist Association in Melbourne. In the weeks that followed, the amount rose to $41,451.

By Jessica Morris

The generosity of Melbourne’s multicultural community has run deep in response to the bushfire crisis this summer.

Members of the Chinese, Vietnamese and Cambodian communities in the Victorian capital have worked tirelessly over the past month, collecting donations at shopping centres, fundraising through local community group events and digging deep themselves.

On Saturday, Lieut-Colonel Xuyen Pho, The Salvation Army Executive Manager for Indigenous and Multicultural Media and Community, accepted a cheque for $42,815 from the Vietnamese Evangelical Church for bushfire relief, while the Oceania Federation Of Chinese Organisations Charity Foundation donated $91,045.

Other key donors have been Boswen Pty Ltd ($3130), Taing Family Trust ($5000), Xin Jin Shan Chinese Language and Culture School ($9781) and Springvale Shopping Centre ($22,029). It topped off a month of generosity from the multicultural community, which has raised more than $220,000 for The Salvation Army Bushfire Disaster Appeal.

“It’s not always easy to settle your life in a new country, and people know who The Salvation Army are for the work we’ve done [with them],” said Leanne Wong, Relationship Manager for the Multicultural Community.

“They tell me, ‘30 to 40 years ago the Salvos helped us’, so when a disaster happens like the bushfires, they are very committed to doing fundraising, because they found their life here and know people need help.”

xuyen phoLieut-Colonel Xuyen Pho accepts a donation from the Vietnamese Evangelical Church in Melbourne on Saturday.

Donations to the bushfire appeal have come from a range of multicultural communities and associations across Melbourne.

Volunteers have ‘rattled the tin’ at Springvale Shopping Centre, a fundraising community dinner was held by the Springvale Asian Business Association (in partnership with 10 other organisations) and donations have poured in from Lim Pharmacy, Cambodian Buddhist Association, Xin Jin Shan Chinese Language and Culture School and Boswen Pty Ltd (a gate and security fencing company).

“In the multicultural community there are many social gatherings, so if you know them they trust you,” said Leanne. “And when they know they want to donate, they call me to collect donations.

“I am also a migrant and I came to this country a few years ago,” added Leanne. “If you engage them earlier and come along in partnership and friendship, [I know they will] come along when you need them most.”



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