Back to School Program – making a real difference in rural Australia

Community stories: 13 November 2014

Chris Hogan is the primary school principal at Deniliquin North Public School. Deni, as the locals refer to it, is a rural town in NSW, 725 km from Sydney with a population just less than 7,500. It is the heart of an agricultural region, largely producing rice and wool, and has suffered significant periods of drought over the last decade.

Chris was happy that Deni North could participate in the 2014 BTS program and distributed 29 vouchers to families in high need that attended his school. “A $50 voucher goes a long way to families that are struggling to put food on the table, let alone buy new school clothes and stationery,” he told us.

“It is a tough reality that kids who ‘standout’ often get picked on at school. All teachers do their best to stop this from happening and talk to students about the need to show empathy, but we can’t be everywhere all the time. Simply having a uniform that fits and shoes without holes can give kids the confidence to participate and learn at school, as well as stand up for themselves,” Chris explained.

Heartfelt thanks

The feedback from the parents who received the vouchers was overwhelmingly positive. It reflects that their needs vary considerably:

  • “Our family lost our home and all belongings due to a house fire. The $50 voucher helped us out greatly at this terrible time. We used it to help purchase school shoes and a sports uniform for our daughter. $50 may not seem like much to some people, but in times of need it can feel like $500. What a great program.”
  • “The voucher helped us to buy things for the kids because treatment for breast cancer is very expensive. Thank you so much, it is much appreciated.”
  • “The voucher was very helpful and timely for our family. It was used to buy a school uniform and shoes that we could not afford. It was very much appreciated.”
  • “Helped to buy skivvy’s for the winter uniform and pencils for the class room. Thank you FRRR and North School.”

The final line of Chris’ report to us was: “As you can clearly see, the $50 vouchers really do make a difference!”

Please donate!

You can help hundreds of other students and families just like these. Even $50 would make a big difference. Donations are tax deductible and 100% of the funds donated go toward this program.