Three events held in Bendigo during Anti Poverty Week raised enough money to provide more than 40,000 meals to central Victorians in need.
Matthew Rowlands organised the Bendigo’s Big Night Out fundraisers at One Tree Hill Hotel, Flight Bar and Handle Bar with the aim of reaching a $1000 target.
He more than doubled his aim, raising $2517 for local charity Bendigo Foodshare. Each dollar raised can provide 16 meals to families in need.
“I was quite surprised at the support and community engagement for Bendigo’s Big Night Out,” he said.
“It was about conversations being sparked. Some people didn’t know what Bendigo Foodshare does.”
Bendigo Foodshare chair Cathie Steele said Mr Rowlands had done a fantastic job with his fundraisers.
“It’s his first fundraiser and he has done an absolutely fantastic job,” she said.
“Matt’s background is that he's known the hardship of not having access to food and he has empathy for people in that position.
“We are hearing a lot about youth having their first contact with police because they have been stealing food. That is something that is concerning.”
The money raised at the Bendigo’s Big Night Out events will be put to straight to good use.
“It goes straight into making sure we can pay our bills to keep fresh food cool and run our trucks to get the food out,” Ms Steele said.
His success has inspired Mr Rowlands to aim higher with a bigger event next year.
“The original goal was $1000 and then I was looking to reach $4000 from the next event. But because hit I hit $2500, I am now aiming for $10,000, which would provide 160,000 meals,” he said.
“I have some ideas and am thinking of running an event maybe in February or March.
“I am seeking the assistance of local businesses for that. Anyone who wants to get involved can contact me through the Bendigo’s Big Night Out Facebook page.”
In the meantime, Bendigo Foodshare will continue fundraising with a tin rattle at Alexandra Fountain on November 30.
Anyone interested in volunteering can call Bendigo Foodshare on 5444 3409.
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