Residents donate goods, services to firefighters serving the Hawkesbury

THE Hawkesbury community banded together over the Christmas break to support firefighters working in the region.

The Gazette has heard the support from the community was great and varied; only a few of the many who helped are mentioned in this article.

One group of ladies who took a lead helping out were Kurrajong locals Melissa Page, Alannah Vandewater, Louise Hall, Susie Selig, Andrea Stone, Mary Rose Bell, Rachael Vaughan and Monique Batterham.

They set up Ms Page's two local delicatessen stores, The Deli Lana Kurrajong and Kurmond, as collection points for donations from the community and businesses, and distributed the goods to over 15 local Rural Fire Service and SES units.

Ms Page said there was everything from supermarket vouchers to protective glasses and Hydralyte donated.

"We are really so grateful to our community for coming together," Ms Page said.

"We had everything from a little old lady who came into the store and gave her last $10 from her wallet, to local businesses that pitched in, to tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods donated from corporates, and a lady who cleaned out her cupboard of biscuits and offered them because she couldn't afford to buy anything to donate."

Ms Page said the Kurrajong Community Group on Facebook was "a big part of" coordinating donations.

A local preschool donated $2,500 worth of vouchers for firies to buy groceries and supplies.

Ms Page and her friends even offered a service called The Fire Fairies, cleaning local firies' houses and preparing meals for them.

"We wanted to get the Mountain Lagoon RFS some iPads, as they were the only brigade that didn't have iPads in their trucks. Kurrajong Public School raised the money and donated one, and Westpac Richmond is donating another," she said.

Another group of ladies sewed over 100 Cool Ties and donated them to the Blaxlands Ridge RFS brigade.

Kurrajong's Cheryl Walker, who led the sewing bee, said she got the idea for the Cool Ties from Victorian resident Amy Kallissa, who created a pattern in conjunction with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) and distributed it for free on Facebook.

"When I saw the idea and free pattern on Facebook, I thought oh wow, it's something I can do for our guys [firefighters]," Ms Walker told the Gazette.

"We are in a fire-prone area, I had the time on my hands, and we all had the passion to do what we can to help."

Ms Walker said she would offer Cool Ties to other local RFS brigades.

On Christmas morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined residents serving breakfast to RFS volunteers at Colo High School.

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