Tweed bands together as bushfire donations on a roll
A HUMBLE gesture by Chinderah service station owners to help bushfire victims has seen two semi trailers full of donated items roll out of the Tweed this week for NSW south coast fire victims and there's more to follow.
Paula and Tony Nash from Shell Chinderah Bay decided to start accepting donations for bushfire victims but as news spread on social media, they suddenly realised they weren't the only people on the Tweed and Gold Coast who wanted to help.
The relief effort has rapidly grown into a well-co-ordinated operation with Banora Point's Kelly Adams organising a small army of volunteers collecting and arranging for donated items to be loaded onto the semis.
One fully loaded semi left Chinderah on Thursday for Bateman's Bay followed by another on Friday bound for Ulladulla.
She said it was estimated that each semi was carrying more than $1 million worth of donated goods.
"What started out on social media as a call for donations has completely overwhelmed us," Ms Adams said.
"The support shown by the local communities has been amazing and we are very grateful for the donations and the assistance of volunteers and local businesses wanting to help."
Ms Adams said the success of the Chinderah operation was the ability to co-ordinate with people on the ground on the NSW south coast to find out exactly what was needed by bushfire victims.
She said so many people had wanted to donate items but that in itself had created some issues at other donation points.
"We are working closely with people in those communities who are letting us know exactly what is needed and we are also liaising with Lions Kingscliff who are working with their counterparts on the south coast doing the distribution of items when they arrive," she said.
"We have sent non-perishable food items, liquids and camping gear and are now working towards collecting farming equipment, bagged stockfeed and garden equipment like rakes and shovels.
"Because a lot of the farms have been destroyed, they are in desperate need of fencing materials such as star pickets, drivers, fencing, heavy duty gloves, safety gear and tools.
"Because of health and safety issues, we need to ensure that these items are in new or new near condition, we can't send down old second hand items that make break during use."
Ms Adams said the next load would also include 'loan' generators for immediate use which would then be returned when some degree of normality was re-established.
"By providing needed equipment, the farms and rural communities can go about setting up again because that the moment, they have no where to keep their animals that survived," Ms Adam said.
"Other requested gear is up on our Instagram site.
"We can't thank the generosity and support of so many people on the Tweed enough.
"People like Collin Neave who has provided the semis, Craig Paddison from best of Builders who has given his own time to organise logistics, the Chinderah Bay service station which is still collecting and storing donated goods, local businesses who have willing donated goods and to the numerous volunteers sorting and packing items and helping to load the trucks."
Ms Adams said as they received more items, they would be able to arrange transport by road directly to the affected areas.
"By having people such as Janice and Ben Pryde in Ulladulla who are working directly with fire ravaged communities, we know that what we are sending down isn't going to storage but will be part of the long rebuilding process," she said.
To find out what is required, visit their Instagram page chinderah_bushfire_donation