The charitable cafe urging others to follow its example
A CALOUNDRA small business known for its generosity in the charity sector has continued its tradition of providing support to those living in desperate need by making a sizeable donation to local non-profit Mercy Ships Australia.
The $30,000 donation was made by La Promenade Café management and staff.
Lindsay and Jane Ross-Gilder have owned the Bulcock Beach business since 2009 and over the years since have raised more than $500,000 for charity through the support of staff and customers.
"Staff kindly give up their tips given by customers to go towards our chosen charity and they have always been very happy to support our efforts," Lindsay said.
"We also encourage our customers to become involved and are grateful for their compassion."
"Mercy Ships is a local charity that is doing great work around the world and we are delighted to be able to make this contribution."
"Even small amounts can make a big difference, with just $25 being able to provide a day of care for one patient."
Mr Ross-Gilder said he hoped to drive change by example.
"It's not all about the money," he said.
"It's about giving to someone who's making a difference in people's lives.
"We know what lovely work they (Mercy Ships) do, their cause gets to our hearts.
"I really wish others who could do something would by putting just one grain of sand in the kitty.
"We need the help of the public. We all get to enjoy living here, we could help the unfortunate at the same time.
"Our staff are happy and our customers happy to put something back. We would all get so much more pleasure in life if we could all put a grain of sand in the bottle. We could fill it up and help those who live with tumours or in hunger."
La Promenade Cafe was already a sponsor of the Fred Hollows Foundation and World Vision as well as contributing throughout the year to local community charities.
"I don't begrudge a cent," Mr Ross-Gilder said.
"If I had more I would give more. If people come and support us we could do more. And others (in business) could do the same. I hope for a chain reaction.
"We can get there with some help from God. The people at Mercy Ships, Fred Hollows Foundation and World Vision sacrifice a lot and do a lot of good work.
"If I had a million dollars today I would give it to them."
He said at La Promenade staff, management, himself and customers felt the need to be compassionate and to do something meaningful to give a chance and opportunity to others less fortunate.
Founded in 1978, Mercy Ships has worked to give access to safe surgery to the five billion of the world's people who had none.
It has has worked in more than 70 countries providing services valued at more than $1.3 billion to the benefit of more than 2.6 million people.
Each year, more than 1200 volunteers from over 40 nations - including more than 100 Australians - serve with Mercy Ships.
All pay their own way including board during their stays on board.
Funds raised by La Promenade would be used to provide free maxillofacial, reconstructive plastic, ophthalmic, women's health, orthopaedic, and general surgeries during the current Mercy Ships field service in Cameroon, Central Africa.
"Patients in Africa are twice as likely to die after surgery when compared with the global average for post-operative deaths," Mercy Ships Australia managing director, Alan Burrell, said.
In addition to providing surgeries, the volunteers on the Mercy Ship also provided medical capacity building training courses to African health care professionals.