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Tonga Appeal
The eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga-Ha'apai volcano that lies about 60 kilometres north of Tonga's main island was one of the most powerful seen in recent times. Satellite images as spectular, but the aftermath is shocking.
Now the pacific island in blanketed in a layer of volcanic ash and the tsunami waves devasted coastal areas tearing down trees and ripping buildings apart.
The international phone line has been severed leaving the island cut off and crippling communications. Dust has hampered relief planes delivering much needed water and food supplies. However emergency efforts are rallying and if you feel able, you can donate via Rotary to assist in the support efforts.
Our club has donated $1,000 towards Christmas hampers and vouchers to bring some festive cheer to local families in need. An amount of $500 will go to both St Mark’s Church in Emerald and St Luke’s Church in Cockatoo, to support a Christmas hamper initiative they’ve been running for the last 12 years.
Club President Shalini Penny said, “In the past year or so, our club has distributed more than $15,000 in vouchers to locals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1,000 donation to the local churches extends our commitment to supporting the local community during these challenging times so that those less fortunate can have the Christmas they deserve”.
The churches work in partnership with local schools which distribute the hampers to local families. This year, 80 hampers containing a variety of festive goodies, including a ham, cake, pudding, custard, mince pies, nuts, pretzels and biscuits, and $1,100 in Christmas vouchers will be given out.
The food items, as well as some financial assistance, were generously donated by the local IGA supermarkets and other businesses, local service clubs such as Rotary and Lions, the Cockatoo Market and local citizens.
Anyone in need of food can obtain some essentials for free from The Food Store, which operates out of St Luke’s Church in Cockatoo every Monday from 10am to 2pm.
Photo: (l-r) Nicole Lane of St Mark’s Church, Emerald; Rotary Club of Emerald and District President Shalini Penny; and Sue Barbieri of St Luke’s Church of Cockatoo.


The Rotary Club of Emerald & District has been awarded the Emerald Village Association’s inaugural Community Group of the Year award at the EVA’s annual community meeting held at the Hills Hub on 24 November. 
In accepting the award, President of the Rotary Club of Emerald and District Shalini Penny said she was thrilled the club had been acknowledged for its work in supporting the local community.
“I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of our members, many of whom dedicate many hours each week making a positive difference in the lives of people who live in Emerald and surrounding suburbs,” Shalini said.
“It is wonderful to be recognised for our work which is vast, covering the young, the elderly, schools and the community as a whole.
“While we haven’t been able to run many of our programs and signature fund-raising events during the past two years because of COVID restrictions, we have continued to support the community during these challenging times, in particular, helping those impacted by the pandemic and recent storms.”
When a local service club, a local business, a local community house and local residents join forces, wonderful things happen!
Thanks to the generosity of the people of Emerald and surrounds, a financial contribution from Woolworths in Emerald, and the efforts of the Rotary Club of Emerald and District and Emerald Community House, local residents doing it tough will benefit from the distribution of more than 200 donated food items.
President of the Rotary Club of Emerald and District Shalini Penny said people of the Hills’ community are renowned for working together for the benefit of all.
“Our community has banded together after fires and storms, and throughout the pandemic. That same unwavering community spirit has come to the fore again with our Rotary club partnering with Emerald Woolworths and Emerald Community House to distribute food donated by members of the community to those in need,” Shalini said.
“Many of the food items were donated by shoppers who placed them into a dedicated ‘Rotary trolley’ set up at the front of the store in the first week of November. Additional food items were also selected by our Rotary Club with a $250 donation from Woolies.
“We thank the people of the Emerald and surrounds for contributing to the initiative, and to Woolies for their support.”
The food items will now be distributed to people in the community via the Emerald Community House.
Rotary Club of Emerald and District President Shalini Penny and Emerald Woolworths Manager Mark Doffetter load up the food items
Rotary Club of Emerald and District President Shalini Penny delivers the food to Emerald Community House Co-Manager Donna Asling ready for distribution to the community.