The Quota club of West Wyalong, Australia’s annual Christmas Tree Festival kicks off the holiday season for the small country town of Wagga Wagga and brings in a tidy sum to return to the community through service projects.
The annual festival includes entertainment by local choral singers and school children, trading tables, displays of Quota crafts and novelties, competitions in photography, crafts, floral art, and cake decorating.
Quotarians “deck the hall,” organize the competitions, and conduct raffles. They even make and decorate over 50 small cakes—baked in tuna tins—for judging, then distribute them to the needy people in their area.
Catering to Community Needs
One festival money-maker is a luncheon that club members cater. Although their Christmas climate in the Southern Hemisphere calls for fruit salad at holiday time, these traditionalists serve plum pudding! The club generally hosts 100-120 people at the luncheon, which raises about Aus.$2,000. And they say they are thoroughly exhausted at the end of the day. [For your holiday table, try one of their great recipes for plum pudding.]
But the results of the West Wyalong Quota club’s hard work make their holiday season bright. Last year, the event proceeds helped fund a Radio Therapy Unit for cancer treatment to be added to a new medical building in their area. “The closest medical center with treatment for cancer patients, for example, is six hours away in the capital city,” explains club member Janece Whittaker.
And no one knows better than Janece how disruptive such a commute for long-term treatment can become. She is a cancer survivor who endured months of commuting.
During the past three years, the Quota club joined forces with other local groups, including the Lions and Rotary clubs and even high school students to focus service efforts on the single need for closer healthcare facilities. Their unity and dedication has made the difference—together they raised six million dollars!
Their new building is currently getting its finishing touches and will be open after the New Year.