The Salvation Army’s Wendy Walters and Phil Sharp with guest speaker Gerard Byrne, the Salvos’ clinical director for recovery services, at the Red Shield Appeal launch yesterday.
The Salvation Army’s Wendy Walters and Phil Sharp with guest speaker Gerard Byrne, the Salvos’ clinical director for recovery services, at the Red Shield Appeal launch yesterday. Scottie Simmonds

Appeal off to strong start

THE “bread and butter” month for one of Australia's most giving and supportive charities, the Salvation Army, officially got under way with the launch of the Red Shield Appeal yesterday.

More than 180 members of the business community attended the appeal lunch at the RSL and gave generously to help the Bundy Salvos try to meet their fundraising target of $100,000.

Salvation Army Captain Phil Sharp said although the actual doorknock was not until later on in the month, yesterday's launch started the donations ball rolling and got people thinking about the charity.

“Last year our target was $88,000 and we met that target,” he said.

“We would not be able to continue the work of the Salvos without the support of the business community and the community in general.”

There were 18 corporate tables valued at $350 each which seated 10 people, and the charity hoped to raise between $15,000 and $20,000 from the lunch alone.

The guest speaker for the afternoon was Sydney man Gerard Byrne, the Salvations Army's clinical director for recovery services.

Mr Byrne shared with the guests his inspiring story about how drugs “came in and took a hold of my life”, and how the kind-heartedness and support of the Salvos was the turning point in his 15-year battle with heroin.

Now with a 22-year career with the charity, Mr Bryne said the service the Salvos provided was “sophisticated and well run”.

“Bundaberg is one of the areas that we're going to promote, to expand drug and alcohol services,” he said.

The two major sponsors for the lunch were Bundaberg Sugar and MRH Lawyers, both of which donated $1000 and hosted a table of guests.

But the charity still needs volunteers to help with the Red Shield Appeal doorknock, which takes place on May 28-29.

“We want to doorknock every house in Bundaberg, but to do that we need about 400 people,” Mr Sharp said.

To become a Red Shield Appeal volunteer, register at www.salvos.org.au/redshieldappeal.