Justin Watson, Maintenance Supervisor at Living Choice Broadwater Court, was so moved by how Eugowra residents had been affected by the recent floods that he decided he had to do something to help.
He put out the call to Broadwater Court residents and staff members for supplies and, on Saturday 3rd December, he and his wife Tracey Gray embarked on their long drive via the Blue Mountains, Bathurst, Orange and Cudal, arriving at Eugowra just after 4pm with a truck load of supplies.
Justin said Tracey had family living in the area and after seeing photos from family members, they decided to collect donations to take directly to the affected areas. Broadwater Court staff members, residents and the local community, all dug deep and donated goods for Justin to deliver straight to affected families.
“Although there is a warehouse full of donations, this has yet to be distributed and families are still struggling,” he said.
It is not the first time these areas have been affected by significant floods. The Lachlan River also flooded last year and in 2016. News articles published recently said, “Inland tsunami destroys town of Eugowra” and “The aftermath of floods in Forbes area will have big price impact”.
With the town now uninhabitable, there are only a few people choosing to remain, living in caravans at the showgrounds. Justin said, “Our donations were distributed within 12 hours directly to true flood victims.”
“The camping gear went first to those volunteering to rebuild farm fences and it gave them something to sleep on. We had some good quality clothing which was donated directly to workers and their families from the local nursing home.
“A girl aged around 11 years was excited to see the Christmas decorations, but she didn’t have a tree so in true small-town spirit a tree was donated from an organiser’s own lounge room. She was so excited and further thrilled to see a packet of biscuits. Life has been tough, especially for children. Basic things were the most appreciated and this same girl asked for a face washer so she could wash her face,” he added.
Justin said the local hairdresser was delighted to receive two boxes of hairdressing supplies. A small amount of cash was donated which went towards some meals on the road. Living Choice also donated $350 to cover Justin’s fuel costs.
“All in all, it was a successful mission. We couldn’t help everyone, but I know we helped at least 20 families. The drive was long and exhausting with a little bit of engine light action occasionally, but apart from helping the flood victims, we also made some long-term family memories on the road trip.”
Justin said the whole experience was quite humbling, with donations given out discreetly so no photos were taken. However, the people were so grateful and delighted to receive them.
Thank you to all who kindly donated to Justin’s journey. It lifted spirits in the area and was greatly appreciated.