THE Bendigo and District RSL has again been overwhelmed by the generosity of central Victorians.
In just 12 days leading up to Anzac Day, the appeals committee raised $70,000 - $300 short of the record last year.
Bendigo RSL appeals committee chairman and president of the Vietnam Veterans Association sub-branch, Neil Arnott, said he "had never seen a community that was so free-giving''.
"They never walk past, they just give - we are very lucky and privileged to see this at ground level,'' he said.
"We have learnt never to judge a book by its cover.
"One of our people was selling outside the supermarket and there was a busker there at the same time.
"When he finished, he put all of the money in the tin and collected a badge. He needed the money but gave it all away.
"Some people are lovely and really generous.
"It's a great experience and everyone we meet tells a story about their father, grandfather or great grandfather who were in the war.''
Mr Arnott said he was surprised at the figure, because Anzac Day fell so close to Easter and the Royal Children's Hospital Good Friday Appeal.
"We gave up some of our selling posts for them because we feel what they do is important,'' Mr Arnott said.
"So the result this year is just brilliant.''
Funds raised during the Anzac appeal allow the RSL to assist past and present servicemen and women with hospital and home visits, accommodation, home maintenance, food, wheelchairs, walking frames and other needs.
"We spend the money throughout the local community where we can,'' Mr Arnott said.
Bendigo RSL president Cliff Richards said fundraising efforts were ''a lot of fun and a lot of hard work'' for volunteers.
"We just want to thank the people of our community, it's a fantastic effort,'' he said.