FareShare is committed to standing by communities devastated by floods in Southeast Queensland and Northern New South Wales.
When the floods first hit Queensland, FareShare was immediately on the ground supplying nutritious meals to West End Community House and Micah Projects in West End, where power was cut, cars swept away and public transport halted.
As the devastation spread to Northern NSW, FareShare meals were rapidly delivered to Lismore, one of the hardest hit areas.
Last week FareShare’s First Nations Officer Jason Mollenhauer and Program manager Madison Buik made the harrowing journey out to Lismore, Ballina and Casino to drop more meals for our First Nations partner organisations.
“Every single street we drove down had enormous piles of debris,” said Madison. “People’s lives were literally out on the street. Everything was ruined. Windows were smashed. Flyscreens and doors were hanging off the sides of houses. It was apocalyptic.
“We brought roast chicken, roast lamb, spaghetti bolognaise – really warming meals we thought would be perfect for people in this situation.”
With thousands of people now living in cars, tents, evacuation centres or couch surfing, nutritious meals have an immediate impact. When the FareShare van arrived at Rekindling the Spirit, a primary health care service run by and for Aboriginal people, families and communities, there was a flurry of activity.
“When we pulled up there must have been about five or six people there accessing support,” says Jason. “As we opened the doors to get the meals out, someone literally took some as we were unloading. It was very humbling.”
Jason and Madison also delivered hundreds of meals to Bunjum Aboriginal Corporation in Ballina with some meals bound for the small First Nations community on Cabbage Tree Island where the school was destroyed by floodwaters.
More meals were dropped at Bulgarr Ngaru Aboriginal Medical Corporation in Casino, which was without power and drinking water.
“It’s going to take a long time to come back from this,” said Jason. “We are going to stay on the ground and be there for the community. We can lift our support if necessary.”
FareShare’s Brisbane kitchen has been overwhelmed by community support with many staff and volunteers struggling to get into the kitchen themselves in the initial days of the floods.
“Every time a volunteer comes in for a shift, they are having a direct impact,” says Madison. “We could not do what we do without them. Every time they chop, pack, sort – it is having an impact. It’s been a big community effort.”
Frank visits his local Mission Australia centre in Queensland daily to heat up his FareShare meal, make a cuppa and have a yarn with the staff. He enters with a contagious smile, and tells them