The terrible bush fires at Pappinbarra have brought out the incredible community spirit and kindness of people there, in Beechwood, Wauchope and around the Hastings.
When news broke on Sunday that people were being asked to leave their homes in Pappinbarra because of the fires, Wauchope Show Society opened the Showground.
President Neil Coombes said they wanted to give food and shelter to anyone who needed it. And as people arrived, some with young children, some with horses, dogs and cats, they were made welcome.
Businesses like Coppi’s Butchers brought meat, Wauchope Bakery sent bread, Fuzzy Ducks Cafe fed weary firefighters, and the Westpac Helicopter Support Group volunteers brought food and hot drinks.
When a call for bedding went out on Facebook, people began arriving from all over the Hastings, with fresh water, food and drink, clothes, mattresses and sheets.
Jenny and Rob Hamilton at Timbertown Resort and Motel offered free accommodation to anyone who needed shelter, and were a welcome oasis for families who had fled the fires, as well as weary firefighters who had been beating back intense flames all day, and saving homes.
People went on Facebook to offer spare rooms or caravans to people made homeless by the fires.
Lisa McLeod of the Pappinbarra Progress Association was at Hollisdale Hall on Monday morning, opening it for local people, many still in shock, to be with family and friends and get something to eat.
It’s at times like this that we come together and open our hearts to all our community members.
Beechwood Public School opened its canteen to provide breakfast and lunch for people affected by the bushfires.
Wauchope Rotary are now planning to set up a fund for people affected by the fires.
Wauchope Rural Centre in High Street are distributing stock and animal feed to the Pappinbarra community.
Wauchope Vets are asking anyone from Pappinbarra or Bellangry with animals injured in the bushfires to bring them in as soon as possible for a free assessment and first aid.
Raelene Burtenshaw from Port Macquarie – Pay It Forward on Facebook is collecting food, water and clothing donations.
Hastings Co-op Chief Executive Allan Gordon said the co-op would be talking with emergency services to see where they can help.