Thursday, January 20, 2011

Aftermath... and ways to help

Last time I went to the shops, it looked like this:

There was no bread, no flour, no dairy, no meat... and this scene was replicated over most of South East Queensland as supply trucks had no way to get into our shops. At first glance, parts of the shop looked full, but on closer inspection, I noticed that there were lots of 'shelf filler' items everywhere. For example corn chips where the bread usually was, corn chips where the rice crisps usually are, corn chips where the ... well you get the picture! Obviously our town wasn't in total dire straits cos nobody had yet thought to 'panic buy' the seemingly endless supply of corn chips we seemed to have!

We have a 'cyclone stash' that I check/replenish every summer, so we were OK - doing without milk and bread for a few days was interesting but not a hardship. We also have a heavy duty filtration on the water coming into our kitchen so, thank God, none of us got sick either.

This week, things were mostly back to normal. There were a few dark, empty places in the cold cabinet and along the shelves and there was an oversupply of bananas, eggs and tomatoes (clearly all those trucks had arrived on the same day).

I've wanted to know a practical way to help. After reading this yesterday, I realise it's probably something a lot of people are struggling with. So, I've come up with a few things that are positive ways to make a difference.

This is an example of how a few people's donations can make $14 000 (with a fair bit of organisation, commitment and elbow grease from the organisers, I'm guessing). Projects like this are popping up everywhere, and with the opportunity to buy one-off, gorgeous goods for yourself, everyone wins.

Hannah's Foundation have set up a project connecting flood affected school kids with stationary supply packs. If you know someone who's lost their school belongings in the flood, it's not too late to sign them up. If you want to help, it is easy to get involved.

The Premier's Flood Relief scheme is another way to ensure money gets to the right people. If you don't have money to donate, but have lots of goods you'd like to contribute, they suggest you hold a garage sale or market stall to raise funds to donate. Chances are someone in your area is already doing this and you can simply donate your goods to them.

Similarly, you could bake morning tea for your Mum's group or workmates and accept a gold coin that you can then donate to Flood relief through Woollies, Coles and a multitude of other registered shops, banks and community groups.

Things are still interesting around here - unusable roads, closed shops and people cleaning up all over the place - but I have been amazed at how quickly the clean up has gone. I'm hoping that people who've been affected can get lives back to 'normal' (or as close to as possible) quickly.

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