Stacks of fun for a serious cause

GiLMarch2014Pancakes have never been so good, in every sense. Students Charlotte Flavell, Kiera Marks and Haley Moss (pictured) enjoyed a sweet treat on Pancake Day last year at Leopold Primary School.  Every year, a team from Leopold Uniting Church run the event at the school. Last year they raised $1000.

Across Victoria and Tasmania, Pancake Day raised over $80,000 towards UnitingCare programs that support families, which was its focus in 2013.

Some of the funds went to UnitingCare Ballarat’s ‘Family Ties’ – a family sponsorship program that encourages local people to anonymously sponsor families in Ballarat who are experiencing hardship.

Money raised also went to the ‘Free furniture program’ run by UnitingCare Werribee Support and Housing which provides families in public housing with adequate furniture to make their house feel like a home.

A launch is being held on Sunday March 2 at Federation Square, Melbourne from 10am-4pm. As well as plenty of pancakes, there will also be children’s activities, an appearance from mascot Penny the Pancake and several of the fundraiser’s celebrity ambassadors.

By participating in this year’s Pancake Day throughout March, you’ll be serving more than just your taste buds.

Funds raised will be directed to UnitingCare’s integrated work with the homeless. Agencies like UnitingCare can make a real difference in the lives of those living on the street or drifting between unstable living arrangements.

While these people often become invisible to the broader community, statistics indicate the magnitude of the problem.
According to the last census, homelessness increased by 17 per cent in the five years prior. At the time the data was collected, 105,237 people were experiencing homelessness in Australia.

“On any given night in Australia 1 in 200 people are homeless. They stay on the street, on people’s couches, with friends or family, in crowded households and in homeless shelters,” director of UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania, Charles Gibson said.

This year, UnitingCare hopes to step up the total raised through Pancake Day to $100,000. With a steady flow of event registrations, and more ambassadors than they’ve had before, there’s a sense among the organisers that this will be achieved.

This year’s ambassadors are Poh Ling Yeow of Masterchef fame, Matthew Evans the ‘Gourmet Farmer’, Janelle Bloom host of Ready, Steady, Cook, Brian Nankervis, host of Rock Whiz and Dan and Dani from The Block.

Funds raised through events such as Pancake Day are the lifeblood of several vitally important UnitingCare programs. Over the 12 years the program has existed, 35,000 volunteers – including previous ambassadors Corinne Grant and Adriano Zumbo – have clocked up countless hours to make it a success each year.

To date, a total of $1.6 million has been raised by Pancake Day to help the crucial work of UnitingCare.

For more information on Mission and Service funding please visit: resources/givingisliving

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