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Echuca Neighbourhood House unveils new bus thanks to $60k donation

If you’ve seen a bus strewn with logos cruising the streets of Echuca Moama recently, it’s Echuca Neighbourhood House’s (ENH) new wheels – all thanks to the remarkable achievement of this year’s Celebri-Tee Golf Day, Sportman’s Dinner and Auction at Rich River in February.

Committee for Echuca Moama’s (C4EM) chief executive officer Chris Janson was thrilled to be on hand for the official unveiling of the neighbourhood house’s new bus last week, thanks to the $60,000 raised at the golf day.

The bus will be used for ENH’s Food Bank service which helps support and deliver nutritious fresh food to those in need.

ENH manager Sarah Peake said she was excited her volunteers could now use the bus rather than their private vehicles to run the service.

‘This is a game-changer for us,’ she said. ‘The bus will help us continue this vital service to the community. We’ve only been running Food Bank for three years, but the reliance on the service has only increased since the pandemic, the floods and now the spiralling costs of living.’

During the floods, four pallets of food a day were being distributed by ENH and the demand for the service has continued to grow.

‘This is the biggest program we now run at the house which is an indication of how much pain is being felt in the community right now,’ Sarah said.

‘I just want to say thank you to everyone who helped make this possible.’

The Celebri-Tee Golf Day is run jointly by C4EM and Rich River Golf Club.

Chris said it was a privilege to collaborate with Rich River for such a worthwhile cause.

‘This is a great day for Sarah and her team at Echuca Neighbourhood House and we’re extremely thankful to the team at Rich River, the celebrities and those who played golf and donated so generously to make the day so successful,’ he said.

One of the day’s sponsors, Belinda Byford from Byford Equipment, said it was fantastic to be involved.

‘Being a family owned and operated business in this wonderful regional community, we understand the support and involvement it requires to give everyone the best opportunity possible to strive and survive in life,’ she said.

‘If this bus delivers a meal, day out or chance to integrate in the community without the worry of how, then that’s a WIN!’

February’s event saw golfers of varying talents chip and putt their way around the golf course, with plenty of fun and banter the order of the day as they played with sporting celebrities, including Hawthorn greats Michael Tuck, Gary Buckenara and Paul Hudson.

Following the golf, Tataila Room hosted 170 for a dinner and auction, hosted by comedian Des Dowling who had the crowd in stitches.

In its third year, the golf day raised an amazing $87,000 in 2021 for Echuca Moama Tourism to run a marketing campaign after the pandemic, and $50,000 was presented to Echuca Regional Health’s Cancer and Wellness Centre last year.

Corporate sponsors of the day received their business logo on the bus to thank them for their generosity. Businesses who gave their support included Shepparton BMW, Moama RSL, Coolabah Turf, Water Partners, Echuca Back 9 Golf Course, Echuca Mazda and Mitsubishi, Bendigo TAFE, CVGT Employment, Byford Equipment, BildGroup, Two Lads, Echuca Lions Club and the National Food Institute.

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