Gumboot-a-thon at Cowwarr

Cowwarr Primary School students Ruby, 9, Chloe, 9 and Lachlan, 10.

Stefan Bradley

Cowwarr Primary School is giving back to the wider community with the return of the school’s Gumboot-a-thon on Friday June 17, in partnership with UnitingCare in Sale.

In the morning, students and the wider community will walk around the block in their gumboots as part of a fundraiser to provide sleeping bags to the homeless in Gippsland to keep them warm this winter. The kids will bring their own gumboots, and are encouraged to decorate them.

Principal Albie Fitt told said the school had two years of the Gumboot-a-thon that were embraced by the community before it was stopped in 2020 due to COVID. This winter, it returns.

“It reflected that we were in the country, because of the gumboots, and it’s like a walkathon,” Mr Fitt said.

“It was a way to make kids aware of their community, and what’s needed in the community.

“That’s why we started this, so our local team can help make the wider team better. I hope that the Gumboot-a-thon becomes a yearly tradition in this town.”

In 2018, the first year that Cowwarr Primary School ran the Gumboot-a-thon, they raised $2000 for drought relief.

In 2019, they raised $2000 once again for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

“A lot of people around Australia need the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and even though we’re a little school, we can help out,” Mr Fitt said.

This year, the school has connected with UnitingCare in Sale to help the homeless, with the motto: Cowwarr Primary thinks that everyone deserves to be warm this winter.

“It’s teaching our kids that there are people in our local community who are homeless, and we want to help them,” Mr Fitt said.

“Our kids are compassionate about homeless people, which is great, but do they really understand the pain they go through? There’s a distance there, but we can help close that distance.”

On the day at 10am, the kids, some of whom will be sponsored, will walk around the block in their gumboots and hope the community will make donations to go to Uniting Care for the homeless.

“We’re bouncing back this year, and the kids love the Gumboot-a-thon, because they really love their team and the idea that they’re doing something positive. That’s the key to it,” Mr Fitt said.

“Of course, we’re in the country walking around with gumboots with all this farmland around, that’s the quirky thing about it. It captures the imagination. There might only be 23 kids at this school, but those 23 kids will help a lot of people in and outside of their community.

“We were amazed in previous years when we raised $2000, and we want to beat that this year. We’ll have someone on the side of the road who can collect donations.”

School student Ruby, 9, said she had a goal to walk 20 laps around the block, and wanted to raise as much money as she could for the homeless.

“My goal is, maybe $30. Last time we all raised $2000,” Ruby said.

“My mum and my brother are sponsors, and I’m going to bring my own gumboots, and I might decorate it.”

All are welcome to make a donation or take part in the walk, dogs on leads included.

Contact the school on 5139 7100 for more information.

Cowwarr Primary School principal Albie Fitt. Photos: Stefan Bradley