St George and Sutherland Shire community digs deep for NSW bushfire effort

Community spirit: Volunteers toiled for days to pack the donated items before they were sent to the NSW South Coast. Picture: Facebook

Community spirit: Volunteers toiled for days to pack the donated items before they were sent to the NSW South Coast. Picture: Facebook

The St George and Sutherland Shire community is continuing to throw its support behind bushfire-ravaged communities across NSW and Australia, with fundraisers, both big and small, and donations of cash and goods heading to those most in need.

More than eight truckloads of items donated to NSW bushfire victims this week made their way from Miranda to one of the worst-affected areas, the NSW South Coast.

Australian Army personnel were on hand at Milton showground to help unload the donated items, before the convoy continued on to Lake Conjola and Sussex Inlet.

Rosie Shalhoub, who owns Embrace at Westfield Miranda, put together a Facebook group in the hope that she would get enough donations to fill one truck and arranged the use of Our Lady Star of the Sea church hall at Miranda as a drop-off point for much-needed supplies.

Helping hand: Volunteers formed a human chain when loading the trucks with donated items. Picture: Facebook

Helping hand: Volunteers formed a human chain when loading the trucks with donated items. Picture: Facebook

Over the following days, thousands of donations poured in, which volunteers then sorted and packed ready to send to the South Coast. Kennards Self Storage donated 500 boxes for the items to be packed in while others donated the use of their trucks.

Her friend Dianne Regan said lots of people were still stranded in townships such as Milton with no food or water after losing all their belongings when fire swept through the area.

Ms Regan said that while some organisations were asking people to donate cash instead of items, the people encountered on the South Coast were happy to receive any help.

Ready to go: One of the trucks being packed before setting off to the NSW South Coast. Picture: Facebook

Ready to go: One of the trucks being packed before setting off to the NSW South Coast. Picture: Facebook

"It's crazy because many councils affected by fires are saying donations of money only as they are overwhelmed, but this is not the case," she said.

Ms Regan said they were also in the process of organising a live Webinar-style telethon for Monday, January 20, at Westfield Miranda to raise much-needed funds to help animals affected by the bushfire.

Proving there is no minimum age requirement to lend a helping hand, Sunny Cavanagh set up a stall outside his Kurnell home last Sunday and raised more than $1500, which will be shared among the NSW RFS, WIRES and bushfire relief.

Proud mum Brooke Schuberg said Sunny, 10, had been upset about the bushfires and wanted to do something to help, initially setting a goal of raising $300 by selling lemonade, cupcakes and his own toys.

"After posting on the Everything Sutherland Shire Facebook page, Sunny was overwhelmed with the support he received," Brooke said.

"We were crying as we were counting the money.

"A little boy came all the way from Engadine to donate his pocket money of $5.

"We had an amazing group of bikers come all the way from Wollongong and donate. One of them even took him for a quick spin on a Harley.

"We had people coming not even wanting anything, no cakes or lemonade, but just to drop in and donate and tell Sunny he was doing a good thing.

"We had cupcake reinforcements from his gorgeous cousin, who came to our rescue when we had sold out in an hour.

Meanwhile K&V dance corp in Sutherland donated all of the proceeds of school holiday dance and acro workshops held today to the NSW RFS, which raised $640.