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Flood crisis - how you can help

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2011-01-14 -

I'm so emotional that don’t even know how to begin this post.

I live in inner-city Brisbane. I’m one of the lucky ones - I live out of the river’s reach, on a hill. But I’m surrounded by families who have been devastated by the floods.

These families – as with families across Ipswich, Toowoomba and smaller communities – have lost everything, including family members. You don't need me to recount the news. As a mother, it upsets me greatly every time I think about those families who were torn apart as the floodwaters raged over the Great Dividing Range and through those close-knit communities. It must be unbearable to have your children ripped from your arms, to be still searching for loved ones days after the disaster. The tales of survival just don’t seem to make up for the lives lost.

I was deeply touched by last night's news story of mums in the evacuation centres. They’ve banded together to set up “kids’ corners”. These child-minding and crèche services are giving respite to exhausted parents and giving kids at the centres fun activities to focus on. The community spirit in the face of such despair is truly inspiring.

Personally, I feel quite useless. I’ve got two small kids at home so I can’t even grab my shovel and broom and offer help on one of the hundreds of streets under water. But I know there is something I can do. And you can, too.

The evacuation centres in Brisbane are in need of towels, bed linen and baby clothes. No doubt so are centres across Queensland and northern New South Wales. The Brisbane centres can no longer accept goods at the centres themselves but they’re asking for people to drop off goods at any local charity store. While the Red Cross is coordinating the evacuation centres, all the charities are working overtime so no doubt donations will be funnelled to needy families quickly.

You can also bet that, as thousands of families start their lives again, their children will need toys to help take their mind off those awful memories.

So let’s all go through our boxes of old baby and kids’ clothing, the old toys that will never be played with again, and the back of the linen cupboard. Let’s box up anything we can spare for flood-ravaged families and take it to our local charity store. Alternatively, keep an ear on the ground for community-driven relief efforts and send your donated goods there.

These families will need whatever support we can offer, for weeks and months to come.



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