2015 has been a devastating year for the residents of the Quilpie Shire. Drought is widespread and hardship is just a fact of life for those outback battlers struggling to survive.
This south-west slice of Queensland also known as ‘Heartbreak Corner’ has failed to receive much needed funding from the Federal Governments’ Drought Communities Program. Neighbouring shires have benefitted from $1.5 million in government assistance each.
The outlook for Christmas in this destitute community was looking bleak. That was until Jeff’s Xmas Run decided to pay the town a visit.
A bus driver for almost 30 year’s, Jeff Park resides on the Sunshine Coast and is well known for his humble generosity, community spirit and hearty laugh. Having heard about the plight of the Aussie battlers in drought ravaged Quilpie, an idea was conceived to bring Christmas to the struggling families within the region. Backed by family, friends, local businesses, schools and the generosity of the local community, Jeff is set to shine some light on Quilpie’s Christmas and share the festive cheer.
After contacting the local schools in Quilpie, Jeff approached the Quilpie Shire Council to gain support for the venture, which they were only too happy to give. The council even went so far as to assist by opening a bank account for monetary donations that were used to purchase food vouchers at stores in town to boost the local economy.
As word spread, community contribution grew and grew, with people pledging their support in a myriad of ways. Donations of wrapped presents came flooding in for the 160+ children residing in the region, along with food hampers, care packages, hand crafted gifts, and over $2000.00 in generous cash donations. Several schools on the Sunshine Coast have taken up the call and rallied the Christmas spirit by collecting presents. In addition, several local businesses including Kangaroo Bus Lines are contributing to the cause and have opened their doors as drop off points for present donation.
Kangaroo Bus Lines is strongly linked to Outback Queensland Tourism initiatives through school based safari programs and also offering unique touring experiences to various iconic Outback Events. These tours give a much needed boost to the local economy of rural communities suffering the impact of the current drought in Western Queensland. When Jeff joined the Kangaroo Bus Lines team back in September it made sense for KBL to jump on board in supporting this worthy cause.
In a show of generous Christmas spirit the Webster family have kindly donated the use of one of their coaches to transport the donated goods to Quilpie. Jeff and fellow KBL driver, Des Deighton will venture into the Queensland Outback to arrive in Quilpie on Saturday 12th December. The local communities of Quilpie and Eromanga will gather to greet Jeff’s Xmas Run as it arrives in town for a day of celebration, festivities, and Christmas cheer.
Would you like to be part of bringing a merrier Christmas to the Quilpie community? To contribute to Jeff’s Xmas Run, email firstname.lastname@example.org.