Cabbies kick the tin for Red Cross appeal

DIG DEEP: Taxi driver Matt Kearney, left, and taxi supervisor Wayne Bush with one of the Red Cross tins
DIG DEEP: Taxi driver Matt Kearney, left, and taxi supervisor Wayne Bush with one of the Red Cross tins

MATT Kearney and his fellow cabbies at Regent Taxis on the Gold Coast are enjoying a generous response to their appeal to passengers to forfeit their spare change to help those devastated by the Indian Ocean tsunami.

All of the 250 Regent Taxis throughout the Gold Coast carry a Red Cross collection tin and with up to 10,000 passengers a day using the taxis, the $10,000 target should easily be surpassed.

Taxi supervisor Wayne Bush said the disaster had hit home with a Regent Taxis cabbie narrowly missing the disaster.

Mr Kearney and all of the cabbies are practising what they preach, donating their tips to the cause.

Meanwhile, like countless businesses, the Tugun branch of the Bendigo Bank is collecting donations to provide much-needed relief to ravaged Asian communities.

Tugun Community Bank manager Peter Dirkx said the appeal, launched by the Bendigo Bank's Community Enterprise Foundation, a charitable foundation able to provide receipts to donors, would channel proceeds to Red Cross, Care Australia and World Vision.

"We have only just started advertising the appeal with posters in the branch and yet we have been overwhelmed by the response from our customers," Mr Dirkx said.

"This tragedy has obviously touched everyone and people have been incredibly gener- ous."

Mr Dirkx said donors need not be Community Bank customers.

Meanwhile, counselling and emotional support is being offered through a national hotline to Australians affected by the disaster.

Set up by Centrelink, the 1800 057 111 hotline offers counselling and referrals to professional help, personal support services, financial assistance and medical advice to survivors and victims' families.

"Also, when people return to Australia from the affected region there's a presence at the airports so they can talk to them face to face and get information and referrals," a Centrelink spokesman said.

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