HELPING HAND: Ldg Aircraftman Marcus Emsley and Jeunesse Douglas held a pancake day and other events to raise money for Friends With Dignity.
HELPING HAND: Ldg Aircraftman Marcus Emsley and Jeunesse Douglas held a pancake day and other events to raise money for Friends With Dignity. CPL Shannon Mccarthy

Food fundraisers a winning recipe for DV charity

SINCE 36 Squadron's Marcus Emsley and his partner decided to raise funds to help out victims of domestic violence three months ago, the response has been overwhelming.

A simple pancake breakfast fundraiser held in October netted $700 - enough to finish off a refuge that Friends With Dignity opened on the Gold Coast last month.

The next fundraiser is a curry lunch on Friday with the CEO of Friends With Dignity which has grown from a squadron function to a headquarters 86 wing event attracting more than 200 people.

Leading Aircraftman Emsley and his partner Jeunesse Douglas opened the Gold Coast refuge on behalf of Amberley's 36 Squadron.

"It was really quite incredible, quite emotional," Ldg Aircraftman Emsley said.

"Because they are an organisation that is boots on ground, helping out the community, they put that money straight into the refuge and bought paint supplies and benchtops and decked out the refuge.

"To see where our money is going is excellent and hopefully this curry lunch will be quite large and we can raise quite a few thousand dollars for the organisation, not just a couple of hundred dollars."

The first victim went into the Gold Coast refuge last week.

"They say it is an unfortunate demand but it is there," he said.

"People like ourselves that are willing to raise awareness and get on the front foot and raise donations, the faster we can get the money to the helping hands, the better they are getting the help needed."

The squadron is an ambassador for White Ribbon Day, with C17s displaying the white ribbon on the aircraft, but Ldg Aircraftman Emsley said he wanted to take the efforts one step further.

Ldg Aircraftman Emsley and Ms Douglas came up with the idea when they volunteered to feed the homeless in the city a few nights a week this year.

"I spoke to someone from Friends With Dignity and I thought this was an amazing opportunity for 36 Squadron in particular to get on the front foot, as we are associated with White Ribbon.

"The white ribbon on the aircraft is raising awareness, but what I wanted to do as a collective squadron was to find an organisation that was helping the community directly. White Ribbon is a great organisation raising awareness of domestic violence but we wanted something where we could directly assist them or an organisation that was doing the hard yards on the ground helping the victims.

"As soon as I raised it up the chain, they immediately embraced the organisation with the same frame of mind as us, that people who are unfortunately in these situations should be entitled to help. They just don't get enough help and that is why we want to raise as much funds as possible to help these organisations."

Ldg Aircraftman Emsley said he had already received $600 in donations in the days leading up to the event.

"What we are hoping to achieve is to raise enough money to make a difference in somebody's life or a family in this Christmas period."