BlazeAid needs you
AS THE number of BlazeAid volunteers based in Mundubbera grows, help can be provided to more property owners in the Eidsvold, Mundubbera and Gayndah areas.
Yesterday 23 volunteers left the Red Shed, equipped with fencing and other equipment needed for the day's work.
Interim co-ordinator Vikki Kelly welcomes anyone who can help, even if it's for only a short period of time.
"The need is just so great, and as donations and volunteers increase, we'll be able to help more people desperate for assistance," Mrs Kelly said.
"It's just so sad. I speak to people who would love BlazeAid's help but can't afford to buy the items they need to rebuild their fences and their lives.
"Today we were so grateful to receive a big donation of fencing equipment from Mundubbera Landmark and from a grazier who doesn't even live in the North Burnett - John Forrest of Oakleigh Grazing.
"It would be a massive help if other donations like these started to flow in."
Ashley Doessel, of Landmark, said he'd been assisted by Whites Wires.
"For every 15 strainers I bought, White Wires donated five more," he said.
If people prefer to make a 8donation of money, cheques can be made out to BlazeAid (Mundubbera) and posted to BlazeAid, c/- Mundubbera Post 8Office, 4626.
This centre is the base for work carried out in Eidsvold, Mundubbera and Gayndah. Any funds not remaining in the 8BlazeAid account when the recovery operation is over in June or July will be returned to these communities.
Last Saturday, 28 Men's Shed volunteers from Beenleigh, 8Oxley, Annerley, Samford and Murrumba Downs joined 8BlazeAid and worked repairing pumps, chipping asparagus, cleaning citrus and nut trees, and gutting houses.
The men brought some tools, but the home-baked slices and cakes they left in each household were perhaps the icing on the cake for families who have lost everything.
The damage to farms and homes in the North Burnett has left locals stunned, many not knowing how to start a clean-up which is so big it may take years.
Paperwork to satisfy the government bureaucracy, downed power and communications, all added to a terrible sense of loneliness.
ABC Radio's Saturday Breakfast presenters Rick Whittle and Phil Smith broadcast from the Mundubbera country markets before a barbecue breakfast brought together what would be a working bee for the people who had homes and farms damaged in the deluge.
"You have no idea how this has cheered the locals," BlazeAid coordinator Vikki Kelly said.
"Forty blokes for two days may be only a drop in the bucket, but it has encouraged people to make a start on tasks that seemed overwhelming."
Pastor Fay Barton of Mundubbera Uniting Church pointed to the enormous recovery effort ahead.
"You have given us a rest, a chance to catch our breath," she said of the volunteers.
"You would be welcome any time during the next six months or more."
For the Men's Shed volunteers, there was a new understanding of grace and trust.
"These people have welcomed us into the most vulnerable point of their lives," one volunteer said.
"They have trusted us to care for them and hear their stories," one volunteer said.
"What a powerful thing."