Australian volunteers help communities with food, clothing and time

It’s organized chaos at Thread Together following floods that devastated communities on Australia’s east coast.

“We know that around 10,000 people have been displaced. We spent the morning sorting through the clothes that are coming in from across the country,” said the organization’s CEO, Anthony Chesler. A topical matter.

Thread Together is bringing never before sold fashion to those in need and this week Mr Chesler has received thousands of requests for help.

Anthony Chesler, CEO of Thread Together, and Lauren Golman, reporter for A Current Affair. (A current affair)

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“It’s new clothes that are really important. New clothes because we don’t want people to remember their situation by having to wear someone else’s clothes,” he said.

Staff from The Athletes Foot and fashion brand Stylerunner also donated their time.

“Look around us, there’s so much that would go to landfill and people need it,” said one volunteer.

Thread Together brings never-before-sold fashion to those in need. (A current affair)

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And the job is never done.

“We are still supporting those affected by the 2021 floods and we are still supporting those on the south coast affected by the bushfires,” Mr Chesler said.

On the other side of Sydney, the aid was only a hot meal.

The hardworking volunteers at Our Big Kitchen cooked up a storm with curry, bolognese and soup. (A current affair)

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In 2020, A topical matter gave the Our Big Kitchen (OBK) team a well-deserved facelift and this week the community organization is feeding flood-affected communities.

“The Big Kitchen brings smiles to people’s faces, just through a hot meal, a nourishing hot meal prepared by a complete stranger,” said founder Laya Slavin.

Hardworking volunteers cooked up a storm with curry, bolognese and soup.

“We are preparing 2,000 meals today, and those 2,000 meals are very specific, they will go to the Northern Rivers Indigenous community,” OBK Director George said.

A Current Affair reporter Lauren Golman with Our Big Kitchen manager George. (A current affair)

“It’s twofold – we still have to support the charities we support on a weekly basis – Vinnies, men’s shelters, women’s shelters and when disaster strikes it’s real, it gets your hands dirty and really an impact on someone’s life.”

Volunteer Jude and his mother are on a mission to make 10,000 jam cookies.

“To lift people’s spirits – to spread some light,” Jude’s mother said.

At another kitchen just 15 minutes away, vans were packed and heading for the Northern Rivers.

Oz Harvest CEO Ronni Kahn spoke with A Current Affair reporter Lauren Golman. (A current affair)

“Inside this refrigerator – (there are) thousands of extremely healthy, delicious and nutritious meals prepared with love and specifically for this purpose, so that we can deploy them as needed,” said the CEO of Oz Harvest, Ronni Kahn.

Next door, the association has set up an emergency supermarket.

“This is our emergency response that we have in place during COVID. These baskets are being sent to an aged care facility in Northern Rivers who called. They are severely challenged as their residents cannot not go out,” Ms. Kahn said.

Jaswonder Singh, leader of Sikh Volunteers Australia. (A current affair)

Sikh Volunteers Australia is another organization that has been on site when disaster strikes.

They have provided free food and clean water to communities affected by bushfires, COVID-19 and now floods.

“I’ve seen the devastation before, but not on this scale, it’s something quite different,” said group leader Jaswonder Singh.

Sikh volunteers Australia. (A current affair)

“We consider ourselves part of the greater Australian community and it is our duty to help our brothers and sisters.

“We’re just trying to serve our faith and our community responsibilities and there’s nothing special about it.”

The Mid Coast Trucks team are also doing their part to help.

“We’re looking at taking food, pet food, water, diapers, formula, diapers, toiletries, that sort of thing,” employee Rachel Salby said. .

Mid Coast Trucks employee Rachel Salby. (A current affair)

“My boss gave a truck driver and Boral also gave a driver.

“We have people up there with a forklift, waiting for us to arrive to help unload.”

After all, that’s community.

Charities helping people in flood-affected communities

For those affected by the floods, assistance is available.

In an emergency, call your local SES unit on 132 500.

If life is in danger, call Triple Zero immediately.

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