A small Illawarra branch of the Australian Red Cross has received top honours in the state for its impressive fundraising ability, with dedicated members bringing a range of skills and products to encourage donations, but the group’s president insists that it is the Jamberoo community’s generosity that is the real reason for their success.
Barbara Adams has been president of the Jamberoo Red Cross Branch for 14 years and is proud of all the different ways the group has found to raise funds and give back to people in need.
“I think the thing is that we’re high profile in Jamberoo and we have a very supportive community, especially when there’s a disaster like Lismore, or the fires down in Batemans Bay,” Barbara said.
From monthly markets to craft days, barbecues, cake bakes, raffles and bingo, the group is one of the region’s most active branches, with significant backing from the community.
“We have generous donations from people, great support from our business houses and our members are just wonderful,” Barbara said.
The group has more than 70 members, aged between 25 and 82, who each bring something unique and useful, whether it be knitting, sewing quilts, making jam, cooking or just contributing to the social aspect of being part of a tight community.
“I think a lot of people like to give back to the community and a lot of people left work and wanted something to connect with,” Barbara said.
“There’s no pressure, you can do as much or as little as you like.”
Their monthly craft group recently made hundreds of the Red Cross’s iconic trauma teddies to be distributed right across the globe.
“We send them everywhere,” Barbara said. ”I know 200 trauma teddies have gone over to Samoa in the last few weeks for a program that they’re running over there.
“I gave the gentleman some for the fire brigade, I’ve taken some to the doctors, some to the pathology, and some up to an X-ray place, so if anybody wants them they’ve just got to ask.”
Now the branch has been recognised by the state after raising more than $50,000 last financial year.
Jamberoo beat out 157 other branches to be awarded the Patterson Cup for a second year in a row as the group that has raised the most in the state through active fundraising, and also went home as a joint winner of the Chairman’s Shield, for the most funds raised through Red Cross Calling in 2023.
“It’s not me getting the award, it’s the town getting the award,” Barbara said. “We don’t go out of town, so it’s the people of Jamberoo that deserve the award because we wouldn’t have it if they didn’t contribute so generously.
“I’ve only got to go and say, ‘Can I have a raffle prize?’ and I’m never knocked back.”
But despite the incredible dedication of the current members, the longevity of the group relies on future volunteers and the next generation.
“I think we need younger people to come in because we’re not getting any younger ourselves but people with any sort of skill, or if you haven’t got any skills it doesn’t matter, because you can always sit and just talk to someone if they come in, we have all kinds of different people come in and they just like a chat.”
To stay up to date with projects and events, or to get in touch with the Jamberoo Red Cross Branch, visit its Facebook page.