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Banking on community spirit to help out cyclone victims

By Mark Beale

THE Cannonvale and Proserpine Community Bank Branches (Bendigo) donned their best Hawaiian shirts and threw support behind the Vanuatu and South Pacific Cyclone Recovery Appeal with a “Vanuatu Tropical Shirt Day” last Thursday.

The Cannonvale branch raised $276.70 for UNICEF Australia and Oxfam Australia’s disaster relief work in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu and nearby Pacific nations and is still taking donations.

Cannonvale branch manager Jodie Masunu said everyone was appropriately dressed trying to do their best for Vanuatu’s tragic situation.

“We even threw a shirt on a scarecrow,” Ms Masunu said.

Businesses and residents were eager to jump on board and support the cause by making a gold coin donation.

Oxfam Australia chief executive Dr Helen Szoke said the situation in Vanuatu was increasingly grim; with destructive winds causing widespread damage to crops and fishing infrastructure across affected islands, making food security a major concern.

UNICEF Australia’s spokeswoman in Vanuatu, Alice Clements, said all schools in Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila had been damaged or destroyed, leaving many children vulnerable and without support from trusted adults while their families dealt with the heartbreaking task of rebuilding their homes.

Donations can be made at any Bendigo Bank branch or at http://www.bendigobank.com.au/vanuatucycloneappeal.

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