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Many hands help HHH co-founder Linda Strickland help Hawkesbury

Hawkesbury's Helping Hands (HHH) co-founder Linda Strickland was in 'disaster mode' when the Gazette spoke with her on Thursday; she and her volunteers had been working 16 days straight to provide support services - food, toiletries and "a cuddle" - for people affected by flooding, and there wasn't an end in sight.

Add this to the ongoing services HHH offers to local residents - including meals and hampers for those experiencing homelessness - and you have one busy crew.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited the charity's headquarters in South Windsor last week, at the height of the flood event. That's the second time Ms Strickland has met the Prime Minister - but true to her nature, she was humble about it.

Hawkesbury's Helping Hands was founded in 2011 by Linda Strickland and her daughter Cassidy Strickland after Cassidy saw someone looking through their bin for food. Picture: Supplied

Hawkesbury's Helping Hands was founded in 2011 by Linda Strickland and her daughter Cassidy Strickland after Cassidy saw someone looking through their bin for food. Picture: Supplied

"It was nice he came down and acknowledged the volunteers, but we couldn't stop - we had work to do," Ms Strickland said.

Ms Strickland is nearing the end of a one-year grant, bestowed by Windsor RSL, to pay her wage, however the volunteer hours she has put into the charity since setting it up in 2011 are countless.

It was established after Ms Strickland's daughter Cassidy Strickland saw someone going through their household waste bin looking for food. Shortly afterwards, the duo began serving meals in the local park in Windsor.

Things have "really ramped up" since the fires. Ms Strickland reminds us that the things this community have gone through in recent years are never-ending, beginning with drought, then fires, flood, COVID-19, another two floods, and more COVID-19.

I will have a bit of a crash after all this and seek a debriefing counseling

Hawkesbury's Helping Hands co-founder, Linda Strickland

"I'm very fortunate. I have a great team of volunteers and very supportive friends," Ms Strickland said.

"All the volunteers are like a family here and we rely on each other."

There are 35 volunteers on the books, but during the recent flood in the Hawkesbury valley, up to 200 people turned up from the community to help unload trucks and distribute food and toiletries. Additional HHH centres were set-up in North Richmond and Wilberforce so people west of the flooded Hawkesbury River could access assistance. An emergency evacuation centre was also established in Richmond.

"I will have a bit of a crash after all this and seek a debriefing counseling," Ms Strickland said.

"We haven't had a chance to stop because we were one of the only charities open during Christmas when Foodbank was shut."

In the meantime, she says: "This has to be done, let's get it done."

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And when she finally gets some downtime, how will she spend it?

"I'm a bit of a homebody. I spend a great deal of time with my daughter, I watch mind-numbing TV shows, read a book, walk my dogs, and I cook a lot," she said.

"I rarely go out except to go to functions but I do have great friends and they sometimes come over and we have a glass of wine and a chit-chat."

Hawkesbury's Helping Hands is located at Unit E/28 Walker St, South Windsor. Find out about their services at hawkesburyshelpinghands.org.au

NSW Government Disaster Recovery Centres are now open in South Windsor (South Windsor Family Centre, 6 Greenhills Way) and Wisemans Ferry (The Retreat, 5564 Old Northern Road). Find out more at service.nsw.gov.au/floods/recovery-centres