A HAND UP: Emerald Lions Club members at this year's Australia Day celebrations in Emerald.
A HAND UP: Emerald Lions Club members at this year's Australia Day celebrations in Emerald. Contributed

Helping those in need

THE Lions Club has a saying - 'Where there's a need, there's a Lion'.

And that's certainly what Emerald Lions Club, in partnership with other Lions Clubs in their Q4 district, has been doing.

Emerald Lions Club's current president Kev Bickhoff said in September last year, the Lions' Q4 disaster coordinator put out a call for drought assistance in the neighbouring Q2 district.

"Initially there was probably some ruffled feathers (from the other district) because 'You're in our territory, you shouldn't be',” he said.

"But someone thought, 'What the heck. There's a problem there that needs addressing'.”

Mr Bickhoff said the disaster coordinator then organised a drought relief weekend in Jericho on September 15 and 16.

The weekend was a combined effort between Lions Clubs from throughout Queensland, Bundy to the Farm, the St Ursula's Old Girls, plus the local policeman and community nurse and their networks.

Mr Bickhoff said Emerald Lions didn't really have a focus for the weekend - "we went to Jericho to be there”.

"There was people from Bundaberg bringing out hay, produce, personal things, soaps and face powder, all that sort of stuff, and household goods,” he said.

"There were 11 semis out of Bundaberg. They were loaded with hay, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, you name it, they had it.

"Lions from Townsville came down, Lions from Tewantin... they came up and six of us went from Emerald.

"We ended up becoming the grunts that took the bulk produce and put it into each person's vehicle.”

Other initiatives over the weekend included 45kg gas cylinder refills, $200 cash cards and water loads.

Mr Bickhoff said initially, the drought-stricken Jericho community reacted with shock to the assistance they received.

"They said, 'We don't deserve this'.

"We said, 'Just take the bloody stuff or we've got to take it back'.”

However, Mr Bickhoff said he believed the community was "pleased that someone is there, that they're getting some assistance”.

"It doesn't solve their problems, but it makes them feel good,” he said.

"We've used our discretion sometimes in terms of assistance in that area (Central Western Queensland).

"If we know of someone who needs assistance in that area, we provide it.

"We've (Emerald Lions Club) done 32 gas cylinders replacements, we've done seven loads of water, we done 50 of those $200 cash cards.

"It just puts money into the local economy. It means local businesses will stay in business.”