By Kathy Dumbleton
What started as a simple gesture of sending cards with messages of hope to flood affected families in North West Queensland has turned into something quite exceptional: a community drawing on their own memories of flooding to reach out and help another.
The communities around Biloela which suffered flooding in 2015 have rallied to gather donations for those affected by 2019’s flooding: 33 boxes and 14 bags of necessities like toilet paper, long life milk, personal hygiene products and medical supplies.
Paula Bruckner and Genevieve Gleeson have been overwhelmed with the generosity of people wanting to pay it forward.
“It’s social media at its best,” Genevieve said.
“Originally we had one truck sleeper cab through Steven Oppermann from Oppermann Transport to transfer donations, however we soon realised that there was far too much for one sleeper!”
“The biggest issue was transport, so I put a call out on our Pay it Forward – Acts of Hope Facebook page.'“
Jambin resident Judy Kirby answered the call, donating her time, vehicle and camper to transport the donations to Rolleston.
Like so many residents in our region, Judy has been directly affected by flooding. In the 2013 Australia Day floods she almost lost everything at her Eidsvold property.
“I haven’t provided any donations, but this is my contribution,” Judy said.
Last Saturday the gifts of hope were loaded into Judy’s vehicle and camper and she set off to Rolleston on the first leg of getting these much needed supplies to their destination.
She was met by Rolleston local Trina Patterson, founder of Baked with Love and overseer of the next step, shepherding the donations north to the QCWA in Winton where they will be distributed among flood affected families in need.
“These will be going to some very needy places. One lady said to me that all her husband wanted to do when he got home was have something nice,” Trina said.
“They have four children under six, and they have just buried all their cattle.”
The sleeper cab did not go to waste, with Paula and Genevieve meeting Steve Oppermann on Saturday night with baked goods which were also headed to Trina at Rolleston on the first part of their journey north.
The way the Central Queensland communities have rallied together to get these donations up to North West Queensland really speaks volumes about the farming community in our region.
“Everyone in this area who has donated connects with what those flood-affected families are feeling,” Genevieve said.