During hard times, it can be embarrassing to ask for help – especially for proud farming folk who have battled drought, fire and flood for generations.
But now, thanks to social media, there’s an easy way to seek assistance, whether it’s for a leaky water tank, a box of groceries or clothes for the kids.
Nic and Rob Foster created the Crookwell Community Kindness Project Facebook group two months ago and say they’ve been “blown away” by the response to their shout-outs for assistance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many Crookwell families faced additional challenges including loss of income and limited access to second-hand items and op shops.
Nic said starting the project had been an “eye-opening experience”.
“We have, as a community project, helped families, singles and community members needing help after removing themselves from unhelpful situations,” she said.
“In the two months that the project (has been) operational, we have been absolutely blown away by offers of help to those in our community, ranging from grocery packs for families and individuals who are in need, wood deliveries and wood donations, goods for the aged care facilities and white goods for those who cannot afford items.”
Nic said people also donated household furniture, clothing, school uniforms and hot meals to those in need.
She uses the Facebook page to offer free items and services and also to anonymously reach out for specific goods that have been requested by families.
As a result, individuals, business, community and sporting groups have helped with services, including fixing leaking pipes and provided food and grocery vouchers.
The project has now been extended to assist patients at Crookwell Hospital.
“We are putting together care packs for patients who come to hospital with not much at all,” she said.
“The packs will contain toiletries including shampoo and conditioner, soap, deodorant, toothpaste, tooth brush, hair brush, razors, hand creams, lip balm and pyjamas.”
Nic had put out a call for toilet bags and said she’ll post a list of items required to start putting the packs together for delivery to the hospital soon.
Nic and Rob have lived in the Crookwell area for nine years and started the project after seeing a similar operation in Goulburn.
Having been involved in school, sporting and community groups, they knew they could depend on the local community to step up.
“We know how hard asking for help can be and sometimes an embarrassing situation for families,” Nic said.
“And help for those in rural environments can be challenging.
“The feedback we have from recipients has been so humbling and even with a few tears.
“All requests for help are purely confidential and we are a ‘no judgement’ group.”
There are plans in the pipeline to secure a drop-off place where people can collect groceries and frozen meals, as well as bedding, clothes, furniture and white goods.
“And of course the kettle will always be on for those who may need just a chat,” Nic added.
Anyone needing assistance or that would like to help can contact Nic via the ‘Crookwell Community Kindness Project’ Facebook page.