The ‘Mango Missionaries’ – Volunteers Making a Difference in WA
A group of small volunteers, working in a small mango picking farm, in a remote place in Western Australia, is hoping to make a big difference. It’s one mango at a time.
Joan and Bill Grosser organize volunteers to pick mangoes to raise money for a cancer centre in India. For past 7 years, they have organised volunteers to come to Kununurra to pick and pack mangoes from the farm to raise money for a good cause cause.
“All of those people that you see packing mangoes are doing it for nothing, they’re doing it for love.” – Ms Grosser
Ms Grosser added, “They get up here from Perth and work in this terrible weather and they don’t get paid anything. But they do it because they really care.”
Last year in 2016, Joan and Bill Grosser gathered around 3700 boxes of mangoes in Perth which raised more than $70K. The idea was born when a farmer once sent them mangoes for a fundraiser.
“This farmer sent us mangoes for two years to raise money to send to India for the people in palliative care, which was a new thing in India in those days,” she said.
The next year, the farmer got busy with other business and could not do it himself. So she asked if she brought a team of people from Perth and collect all these mangoes. The farmer agreed and that’s what they did.
Every year since, they go to Kununurra and, collect every mangoes that comes off the tree, with a hope for fundraising for the Ruma Abedona Hospice, a palliative care centre they sponsor in Kolkata, India. The facility is the only one of its kind in North East India, which supports approximately 1,500 terminally ill cancer patients and carers a month, who would otherwise be unable to afford care.
“I’ve seen it, I’ve seen what happens in India and I can’t explain the squalor I sit in and see, people who would die in the street of cancer with no painkillers,” said Ms Grosser.
Every mango you put into the box is worth 50 rupees or one dollar. That will buy medicines for the cancer patients, so that gives an inspiration to help those people.
Ms Grosser said it wasn’t just local mango farmers who had rolled up their sleeves to help these mango missionaries. They also got support with adding local volunteers who had donated their own time and equipment for the cause. These volunteers pick up the mango crates under the hot Kimberley sun. But at the end of the day, it makes your heart feel good and the mind too. It’s all for a good cause.
“To come and do something yourself, literally getting your hands dirty makes it more rewarding than just giving a monetary contribution,” retiree Mr Quinton said.
For them it’s not just picking up mangoes, but rather it’s doing something good for others. It’s very rewarding not physically but certainly spiritually and emotionally.
Ms Grosser said the volunteer team is expecting to pack around 2,000 boxes of mangoes by next week and orders are already flowing in from mango lovers who are very keen to help and be a part of some good cause. Do Forward believes in the same concept of “Uniting Good People & Good Causes.”