BY THE TRUCKLOAD: Share the Dignity volunteer Julie Unwin with the huge anonymous donation from Merry Muster shoppers.
BY THE TRUCKLOAD: Share the Dignity volunteer Julie Unwin with the huge anonymous donation from Merry Muster shoppers.

Merry Muster makes huge donation to Stanthorpe charity

THE Merry Muster markets saw hundreds flock to the Southern Downs to support small businesses, but it was a number of the region’s charities that walked away the real winners.

Eight buses brought 350 shoppers from Brisbane and the Gold Coast to both Warwick and Stanthorpe markets today, where dozens of stallholders were selling their handcrafted goodies in a festive shopping bonanza.

The joint Merry Muster and Buy from the Bush event was focused on injecting much-needed cash into a local economy crippled by the coronavirus and drought, and that became clear when more than $6000 was donated to two Southern Downs charities.

The Warwick Community Van and Granite Belt Water Relief each received a $3100 donation in recognition of their dedication to giving back to their community.

Community Van project manager Catherine Cazaly said the proceeds would make an enormous difference to their organisation, covering the expenses of more than 2000 meals for those in need.

Merry Muster founder Kristen Bonner announcing donation to Southern Downs charities Granite Belt Water Relief and the Warwick Community Van.
Merry Muster founder Kristen Bonner announcing donation to Southern Downs charities Granite Belt Water Relief and the Warwick Community Van.

“Some people would call it a soup kitchen, but we call it a community van because we believe it’s about connection,” Mrs Cazaly said.

“I can’t tell you how much you guys have made an impact for the individuals in our town.”

GBWR co-founder Russel Wantling accepted the donation on his organisation’s behalf, expressing equal gratitude.

For Merry Muster founder Kristin Bonner, being able to offer financial and community support in regional areas like the Southern Downs would always be her true passion.

“People appreciate the value of their money this year. If you can give that to a family and make their Christmas, it makes me so happy and makes such a difference,” she said.

“We hope everyone spent up big, our energy and positivity resonated with the locals and stays with you – just because we’re from the city, it doesn’t mean we don’t care.”

The massive event saw another Warwick charity initiative succeed, with Share the Drive volunteer Julie Unwin today receiving the enormous donation of sanitary products from Merry Muster participants.

Mrs Unwin said her husband’s truck was only just big enough to transport the huge supply, which will be passed on to Lighthouse, Carbal Medical Services, Vinnies, and the Community Van.

“It was lovely talking to the ladies this morning as they were hopping off the buses, because they created bags they themselves would love, and they’re beautiful,” Mrs Unwin said.

“I feel very blessed and grateful I can be a part of helping the less fortunate in our community have some sort of a merry Christmas, in one way or another.

“I’m just so thankful, and thank you just doesn’t seem enough for all these wonderful donations to our community.”

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