Gateshead ‘Mini Vinnies’ help drought-stricken farmers

Year 6 students at St Paul’s Primary School, Gateshead, have raised $300 to support struggling Hunter Valley farmers who have been hard-hit by the recent drought.

Inspired by an NBN News story on the farmers’ plight, Mrs Alex Walsh, Year 6 teacher at St Paul’s and facilitator of the school’s ‘Mini Vinnies’ program, thought it would be the perfect opportunity for the students to give back to their community through this program.

The ‘Mini Vinnies’ program is a fundraising group run by students that sees them actively seek out opportunities to support those in the local community who are doing it tough.

The ‘Mini Vinnies’ held a ‘Bubbles for Bales’ stall, selling bubbles wands to students to help raise money to purchase hay bales and to provide some relief in trying times.

After putting together posters to hang around the school to promote their fundraising plan and after setting up the stall at lunchtimes during Catholic School’s Week, the students managed to sell 170 bubble wands, thereby raising $300 for this worthy cause.

“We can easily identify from the map on the website where the money will reach in our area so the students can see a direct outcome from their efforts,” said Mrs Walsh.

“The site identifies that five $20 bales of hay will feed one cow for a week. There is also the added expense of diesel for transportation and water – all of the resources needed to run a farm.”

The group has also set up tins in each classroom where families can contribute change throughout the year.

At the end of the school year, the total is added up and used to support a different local charity, with a small kitty also taken to help families within the school community who may need support with excursion payments or putting food on the table over Christmas.

In another project last year, the ‘Mini Vinnies’ also sent $500 to Hunter Homeless Connect.

“It’s great to see the students get involved. It’s usually the students that bring the ideas to the group and they are always actively seeking opportunities and keen to support others,” said Mrs Walsh.

“The students have been learning that it’s nice to offer because some people are too proud to ask for help.”

If you have a project that could use some support contact St Paul’s Primary School, Gateshead, on 49436369.