Drought-affected communities have again received a hand-up from the Toowoomba Freemasons, who together with Hand Heart Pocket The Charity of Freemasons Queensland and Masonic Lodges throughout the state, have donated $1.45 million dollars in the past four years. Hand Heart Pocket’s latest initiative, the Drought Disaster Relief Appeal, saw the charity donate an additional two dollars for every one dollar donated by its members and Masonic Lodges, meaning that the Toowoomba Freemasons’ $6,730 contribution has been tripled to $20,190.

Toowoomba and District Masonic Council representative, Craig Reimers, said the scale of the devastation prompted them to contribute. “While Lodges usually work to support local causes, we rallied together to support our fellow Queenslander’s who are struggling because of the drought,” Craig said. “We’re always willing to help out and working with Hand Heart Pocket, our $20,190 donation will do just that.”

Hand Heart Pocket Chief Executive Officer, Gary Mark, said the response has been amazing. “We are grateful to the Toowoomba Freemasons for their efforts,” Gary said. “Freemasons across the state have rallied to make a significant contribution towards providing a hand-up for drought-affected families and communities – collectively contributing $450,000 with Hand Heart Pocket over the past six weeks. This takes the total funds distributed over the last four years, on behalf of Freemasons, to $1.45 Million, this is an extraordinary effort across our membership.”

With this money, Hand Heart Pocket will provide Eftpos cards to be distributed through its partners on the ground so that funds can get to where they are needed most, helping to put food on the table and pay for essential bills. “We’ll be working with the Western Drought Appeal and their associated distribution channels, the Rural Financial Counselling Service, Queensland Education and the School of Distant Education parent support group to distribute the Eftpos cards to where they are needed most,” said Gary.

As an independent charity founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand HeartPocket helps in areas of state-wide and local need that have limited access to other funding. The organisation works with other charities to identify and fund initiatives that have real, life-changing potential. It also collaborate with Masonic Lodges across Queensland and help individuals in times of extreme need to get them back on their feet.

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