CEDAR Grove couple Jae and Bec Martin are delighted with the response they received to a fundraising campaign they ran to help homeless people in the lead up to Christmas.
Combining fitness with the gift of giving, Mr Martin – a former personal trainer – and Ms Martin ran a 12-day program of daily exercises that helped raise awareness of the fundraising campaign that ran simultaneously.
Called 12 Days of Fitness for Charity, the dual venture, conducted via social media, aimed to raise enough funds to fill 250 backpacks to be given as gifts to homeless people on Christmas Day.
However, Mr Martin said the project exceeded all expectations by resulting in 1000 bags – 800 of which were delivered on Christmas morning to a range of shelters and hostels across South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales – and about $5000 in cash donations.
He said the bags were donated by City Beach through the efforts of a staff member who participated in the fitness program.
“We also raised $5000 through GoFundMe, and from that we were able to fund everything needed for the bags,” Mr Martin said.
“We thought at first that City Beach was donating 500 bags and we said we’d buy another 500, but then they donated the entire 1000.”
Mr Martin said he, Ms Martin and 29 volunteers filled the bags in one day at Camira Springfield Community Centre and they were joined in distributing them on Christmas morning by 16 volunteers, including five children aged under 12.
“On the day we packed all the bags, watching the volunteers get involved was priceless,” he said.
“We realised how grateful we felt for them to do that; and then to watch people, including children, give up their Christmas morning to help distribute the bags was amazing.”
Mr Martin said he offered a “massive thank you” to the many people who supported the project.
“Dominos even donated pizzas to the volunteers on packing day, “ he said.
“The support we received blew our target away and we couldn’t have done it without that support.
“Now our aim is to top this next time and beat 800.
“We’ll be trying to do other states as well next Christmas.”
Mr Martin said the 200 bags that remained from the Christmas drive would be distributed to disadvantaged families as a “back to school” initiative.
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