A pair of flat tyres and a fallen tree were not enough to stop a group of Hawkesbury community members from ensuring that no one is without support during the current crisis.
Bilpin resident Fiona Germaine and Mountain of Joy founder Karen Stuttle have been working together, with Woolworths, to ensure vulnerable people, stuck west of the Hawkesbury River, will have access to the essentials.
Ms Stuttle started Mountain of Joy in 2019, a meal preparation service for those in need around the Hawkesbury community.
Ms Germaine, who after the floods of 2021, decided to set up the Germaine Family Office with her husband's hedge fund, created an interface between government agencies and the private sector, then connecting them with local charities.
Ms Germaine and Ms Stuttle have been communicating throughout the last year, proactively planning a contingency for if the region was hit with another natural disaster or emergency.
With the rivers on the rise and flooding imminent, the duo organised with Woolworths for essential supplies to be delivered to a makeshift emergence center at Bilpin District Hall.
An overnight convoy of five Woolworths trucks made the tough trek along Bells Line of Road (suffering flat tyres and dodging a fallen tree) and another convoy will make the journey again tonight, this time bringing fresh produce and meat to the hall.
Ms Stuttle said that based on previous flood experience they decided not to wait to bring in extra supplies and instead get essentials across the river before it was too late.
"We started categorising [what Woolworths delivered]," she said. "We already know from working with the community what the community needs.
"And we know that it doesn't matter what anyone says, in three days time, Coles will be empty ... we don't want children who are suffering from COVID-19 to be dehydrated and running temperatures.
"So, we now have virtually a makeshift crisis centre run by the community up at Bilpin. And it will run out of my house. I'll start activating that so we have all the infrastructure ready to go."
Ms Germaine said that connecting the companies with local charities was critical during the floods, as it allowed them to know where the resources needed to go, especially due to the isolation that some of the Hawkesbury communities experience.
"Right now we're looking at organising a special mission to the St. Albans area and the McDonald Valley," she said. "These guys are without power and reception, they're in a really dire situation, because conditions are set to worsen and the weather will stay like this the next week or so.
"It's unlikely these flood waters will recede quickly as they did last year. So, what our organisation is set about doing is just making sure that we can procure enough resources and we have pallets of stuff available, and set these up from crisis management centres.
"We're sending [to MacDonald Valley and St Albans] a stack of supplies so that they can store it at their RFS sheds for the incoming days. We are still preparing for worse conditions and more isolation on their part, and then that way we can take the pressure off the SES."
The pair have been thankful for all the support that they have received from the community and Woolworths.
"We can't wait for crisis," said Ms Stuttle. "We don't have any funding. I'm not funded. I'm not even registered. I'm just meeting the need as a human being with my gut, female instinct.
"There's generous locals who are currently in their kitchens cooking up nutritional meals for elderly.
"I've got people everywhere. I basically had a whole army come out of the closet last night, roll up their sleeves and ready to move into action, because they know what to do. Because they did it last year."
Ms Germaine asked that people who can still be independent to do so, allowing them to make sure the most vulnerable and isolated members of the community can receive the support they need.
"For those who do not have access to fresh food or essential supplies, if you have pantry goods and perishables, but you need essentials like a baby formula, hygiene products, please contact Karen," said Ms Germaine.
"We have those and they're things that people don't think of in advance. Anyone who knows of families that have been displaced who are not getting the help that they need.
"Society's most vulnerable do get forgotten or slip between In the cracks in these situations ... we need community members to look out for each other.
"Anyone who has been displaced, anyone who has no access to fresh goods. I'm thinking of single mothers or families with many kids, the elderly, those who are less mobile, people suffering from COVID-19 and isolating, to who just can't get out and get to goods as well."
Ms Germaine and Ms Stuttle ask the community that if they, or anyone they know, is requiring help with access to essential supplies, to contact Karen Stuttle at 0408913617.