Jenni Cooper is born and bred on the coast but has turned her focus inland to Gunnedah’s drought-stricken farmers.
With the help of her friend Destiny Thomson and the support of her school and community, Jenni has raised $10,000.
Rotary Club of Port Macquarie West teamed up with Rotary 2380 to streamline the funds and on Sunday, Jenni made tracks to Gunnedah with her mother Robyn and Destiny.
The trio met the Rotary team on Monday and helped them prepare almost 200 envelopes with $200 gift cards, which will be posted out to farmers in need as part of the club’s Drought Relief Project. The envelopes also include information on Jenni’s initiative and letters from children at Westport Public School.
Jenni was first inspired to fundraise when she heard a member of Gunnedah Youth Council speak about the shire’s drought when she attended the Luminosity Youth Summit mid-year.
“I thought, ‘Why don’t we do something?’,” Jenni said.
The 17-year-old said she didn’t think she could make much of an impact but was thrilled when Rotary Club Port Macquarie West’s president Julie Constable told her what the total fundraising figure was.
“I couldn’t stop smiling and I started jumping around the house,” Jenni said.
“I messaged Destiny and said, ‘We made 10 grand’.”
Jenni’s mother Robyn said it was “the proudest mum moment ever”.
“I’m the proudest mum walking around,” Ms Cooper said.
Ms Cooper said she worked for the Commonwealth Bank and helped her own branch raise $15,000 for farmers earlier in the year,
“[Jenni] said, ‘Mum, I have to do what you’re doing. I have to do something to help’,” Ms Cooper said.
Rotary 2380 president Stacey Cooke said Jenni was an inspiration.
“We think it’s incredibly impressive,” Mrs Cooke said.
“It’s heart-warming to see that children as far as the coast can be so driven to help our farmers who have been impacted by the drought.
“Just hearing a story can motivate them to create change.”