Quest Toowoomba partners with Emerge on ‘volunteers and violets’ carnival campaign ​

Quest Toowoomba business owners Tony and Jenny O’Reilly have partnered with social enterprise Emerge Café on a fundraising initiative to support the organisation, and are calling on the community to donate violets from their gardens during the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers.

As part of the ‘Quest for a Cause’ program, Quest Toowoomba has purchased 350 flower pots and soil, which volunteers from Emerge will then pot. The violets will be placed in hotel guest rooms as part of a special Carnival welcome pack, which encourages tourists to take a piece of the city home with them and support Emerge’s work.

The carnival welcome pack will include cards guests can redeem for free coffees when dining at Emerge Café, and information on the vital youth work of the grassroots organisation.

The violet was declared Toowoomba’s floral emblem in 1932. Violets were sold by families of World War I soldiers who did not return home, and the money was used to build a memorial. 

Jenny says the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers is the busiest time of year for Quest Toowoomba, and presented the perfect opportunity to work with a local charity partner under Quest for a Cause – a program which encourages and supports Quest business owners to engage with meaningful community causes.

“I like Emerge because they are incredibly enthusiastic and committed to changing lives of young people in the community for the better,” said Jenny.

“In previous years we gave violets to guests as a welcome gift, but this year’s carnival is running for longer so I realised we would need more violets and more help. I’ll be contributing violets from my garden, and I’d love for locals to donate violets from their gardens to our campaign with Emerge.”

“During carnival we participate in the Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce ‘Carnival in the CBD’ which involves decorating your business shop front. This year our theme is ‘unlock your Dreams’ – because Emerge unlock the dreams and potential of local youth in our community.”

“We invite Toowoomba locals and visitors to come and see our flower bed display . ’ You can also enter our competition to win a ‘Getaway with Quest’ for 4 people by uploading a photo to social media with our flower display and tagging the friends you will bring using #questtoowoomba.”

Quest Toowoomba has also donated a free stay that Emerge Café patrons can win when dining with them during Carnival.

Emerge Café founder Jen Shaw said her organisation is always looking for new opportunities.

“The youth work we do is unique because we’re a non-government organisation.” said Jen. “Emerge Café employs the kids we support, and the Cafe business then supports our organisation.”

“We have complete control in how we run our programs, and we don’t stop after 3 or 6 months. When kids join Emerge they join our family, and sometimes it can take 2 years to build trust.”

“When they’ve lost confidence, we throw opportunities at them so they can begin to see what’s possible and what they can achieve. Carnival is my favourite time of year because it’s all about family and fun, from decorating our café to the warmer weather. There’s celebration in the air.”

Violets potted by Emerge volunteers will be available for purchase inside reception at Quest Toowoomba and the Emerge Café from the 11th of September.

If you would like to donate violets for the Emerge volunteers, please bring them to Emerge Café.

Madeleine Maher
Marketing & Communications Manager
Quest Apartment Hotels
Mob: +61 439 002 693


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