During November 2022, we visited the epicentre of the floods (Rochester and Echuca) to find out first-hand just how these communities are going and what support they need now and ongoing.
For our CEO Michelle and Warehouse Coordinator Annie, the devastating impact was confronting to see, but witnessing the communities’ resilience and devotion to supporting each other was inspiring and uplifting.
While the floods have divided these towns and displaced residents from their homes, the communities remain united in their support of each other, and the rebuilding of their homes, businesses and spirits.
Throughout the day we visited our partners at Rochester Community House, Crossenvale Community House as well as Echuca Neighbourhood House, Echuca Salvation Army, Epicentre Church Op Shop and Njernda Aboriginal Corporation to see if we could offer any extra assistance.
When asked what we can do to support them, their response was to support their local businesses and economy and to give money donations rather than physical things as their storage is limited.
They also asked us to remember that floods are natural disasters that take time to recover from, requiring a long and sustained period of support. So as the flood waters recede, the weather starts to improve and our focus shifts to the festive holiday season, let’s continue to remember and support these towns’ rebuilding and recovery efforts.
Throughout the day, we met so many wonderful volunteers doing impactful things, but we wanted to give some special praise to a Mr Thomas Murphy, 95 years young, who currently volunteers once a week at the Rochester Community House. Thomas has been a long-term volunteer in the Rochester community with his loving wife of 67 years. Thomas you are an inspiration!
For us at Bendigo Foodshare, the coordination of our food relief efforts to support flood affected communities in our region has been a massive effort from our incredible team of staff and volunteers. It’s been a big job ensuring we understand and respond to the needs of our food relief partners, while also coordinating state agency and local food donations and logistics to get the food into these areas. So, we too wanted to make it known how grateful we are to our amazing team for this vital and important work. We are making a difference in these communities.
A big thank you from us, to every single person who has made their own contribution.
Inspired, and still looking for ways to support local communities?
- donate to our Food Drive – our yellow donation bins are in supermarkets right across Bendigo
- donate cash to us at www.bendigofooodshare.org.au/donate
- donate cash to the Victorian Flood Appeal https://www.bendigobank.com.au/appeals/flood-appeals/
- Our friends at Be.Bendigo are encouraging us all to support businesses in flood affected towns like Rochester and Bridgewater. While doing the Christmas shopping this year, why not try and support a business affected by the floods.
- check out this article from ABC News last month for other great ways to help https://www.abc.net.au/…/how-to-help…/101557842