They say when times are tough and you need some hope to look around for the people who are helping. This was our own community recently, who together raised thousands of dollars and collected truckloads of essential items for bushfire victims and our injured wildlife.
There’s no doubt our wonderful community loves to help. Willoughby Living Facebook Group is filled with daily examples of neighbours helping each other. But when the news spread of what other communities were going through after the horrific fires blazed across Australia early this year, WL members were nothing short of extraordinary with their efforts to assist. There were hundreds of posts shared to raise awareness and funds, and many people rallied for volunteers for working bees and knit-ins for our wildlife. Special mention goes to all of our young members who held fundraisers for injured koalas and other wildlife, in particular young Piper Warner (below) and her family who collected truckloads of essential items for injured animals at their own home and passed them on to the Animal Rescue Collective.
Willoughby Living’s Essential Items Drive
When we put the call out for essential items for bushfire victims, such as water, food, toiletries and medical supplies, for a four-day collection at Willoughby Park Bowling Club, no one could have prepared us for the overwhelming response. A stream of generous and kind people kept arriving day after day with their arms full, and sometimes their cars full, of much-needed supplies. There were also community groups and local businesses who got together to collect and deliver to us, and religious groups of many denominations delivered box after box. Other businesses heard of the collection and thoughtfully dropped off packing boxes (thank you Marcus and Jack Willis), or donated water and packing supplies (thank you Officeworks Chatswood) or baked chocolate crackles to give out to those dropping off donations (thank you Isabelle & Ollie) .
Members of the community arrived to donate and some even stayed to help pack, while our other tireless and wonderful volunteer packers showed up day after day, including local children who not only gave up their school holiday time but did the most amazing job sorting, packing and writing messages of hope and care on the boxes. There was a continual outpouring of community concern for our fellow Australians, and by the end of day four over 200 boxes were sorted, packed and ready for collection. These were carried out of the Club by more amazing local volunteers, loaded onto the trucks and driven directly to the townships down South that were crying out for supplies.
(Special thanks to the Anderson family, the Ekas family, the Galani Pearson family, the Spanton family, the Hill family, the Smith family, the Palmer family, the Thomas family, Mayor Gail Giles-Gidney, Sophia Sheriff, Evie Delaney, Aqua Fisher, and to Roger Womersley and Scott Costain for the use of the Willoughby Park Bowling Club. If we’ve left any names out please accept our apologies and please get in touch as we’d love to acknowledge you properly.)
The Kids Market
Whilst the essential items drive was taking place, Mayor Gail dropped by to lend a hand. The kids who had been working so hard to assist with the collection had inspired the idea of a Kids’ Market where they could all hold their own fundraising stalls together. When Mayor Gail heard the idea she immediately jumped on the phone and within twenty minutes had organised the Willoughby Park Hall as the venue, and one of the ladies who works there, Christine, had volunteered to spend the day assisting with everything from the set-up of tables to the clean up afterwards.
The invite went out on WL for stallholders and in just a few short days more than 30 kids had jumped on board to donate their time and skills to raise money. The event was nothing short of astounding with kids and families coming together and the community turning up in droves to support them and buy their wonderful wares. There were koala cupcakes, a nail salon, books and toys, a lemonade stall, jelly cups, balls of glittery playdough for sale, cakes and lollies, and even hand-drawn pictures. You can see some of these and the many other great ideas below. It was really heartwarming walking through the hall and seeing the effort that had gone into every single stall.
At the end of the day, all the children proudly and happily handed over their hard-earned money. And again the results were overwhelming. $3416 was the total.
This amount has now been added to the Willoughby Living fundraiser which was done via Facebook and has been at the top of the WL newsfeed for the last few weeks. Thank you to all who donated so generously. Combined with the funds from the Kids’ Market the grand total raised is $5600!.
Thank you, Willoughby Living community!!