Hunter businesses respond to Lifeline clothing appeal for flooded Northern NSW

Hunter businesses respond to Lifeline clothing appeal for flooded Northern NSW

Overwhelming, heart-warming but not unexpected is how Lifeline Hunter’s People and Capability Manager, Melissa Sams, describes the Hunter community’s response to its call for clothing for flood affected people in the Northern Rivers.

Melissa said the donations of clothing, shoes, belts, towels, sheets, doonas and blankets to its Hamilton North warehouse have so far filled more than 120 pallets and weigh around 20,000 kilograms.

She said hundreds of locals and several businesses generously responded. Newcastle Permanent will fund Lifeline’s costs to transport the donated items from Newcastle to Lismore and to distribute the donated items to people in Lismore and surrounding towns. More than 50 of its staff, including its senior executive team, have been volunteering to help sort the items before transportation.

Carrington based manufacturer, Thales, is providing extra storage space to cope with the volume of donations.

Penny Dudding, the owner of Warners Bay lingerie and prosthesis fitting shop, ‘You Really Are Beautiful’, donated more than 500 new bras. Penny has offered women in the Northern Rivers region who have lost their breast prosthesis in the floods, to get in touch to arrange a free fitting for them.

Melissa Sams spoke about the influx of donations.

“As locals dropped off items, they’re expressing their devastation for those in the Northern Rivers, including some family members who have lost everything in the floods. Our community just want to do something to help and show their support.”

“I’m not surprised by the generosity of Newcastle Permanent, Thales, Penny and other local people, but it makes me even prouder to be a Novocastrian,” Melissa said.

The donated items will now likely leave Newcastle late March or early April to be there when they will be of most use and can be effectively distributed to local people.

“We’re working with other charities and agencies in a coordinated way as there will be an ongoing need for support.”

Newcastle Permanent’s, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Paul Juergens, said everyone at the organisation is thinking of its customers, employees and other members of flood impacted communities – including emergency responders. He said flood affected Newcastle Permanent customers across NSW can access customised financial relief measures.

“It’s the Newcastle Permanent way to support the communities that support us, and this Lifeline initiative is a practical way to help communities.”

“There will be more to do in the coming months, and we will look to help with the significant recovery effort that will no doubt be required.”

“One way we’re looking to do this is by funding Lifeline North Coast so they can provide some face to face counselling support to flood impacted people,” Paul said.

Lifeline’s Hunter, Northern Rivers, Central Coast and New England North West centres are managed by the one team to reduce administration costs and to better co-ordinate suicide prevention services. \

Lifeline’s losses in the Northern Rivers are extensive. Its warehouse, office and 13 11 14 call centre, three of its shops, a ute and two trucks all went underwater. But it is still volunteering to manage the flood relief distribution centre at the Lismore Showground as part of its contribution to the relief effort.

Lifeline is also urging anyone who is struggling to cope with the flooding emergency and other world events currently taking place, whether they live in a flood affected community or not, to call 13 11 14.

“Please do not suffer in silence. Lifeline is here to listen and to offer support and hope,” Melissa Sams said.

IMAGE | Newcastle Permanent, Chief Customer Experience Officer, Paul Juergens and Lifeline Hunter’s People and Capability Manager, Melissa Sams.

Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter

Lifeline was founded by the Reverend Alan Walker at Methodist Central Mission in Sydney in 1963. Since then, Lifeline services have been established around Australia and in many parts of the world.

Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter began in 1966 when Reverend John Chegwidden was awakened by a distressed telephone call from a man wanting to know if there was a Lifeline service operating in the region.

Over the years, Lifeline Newcastle & Hunter has expanded its operations from the traditional telephone crisis support service to include a range of services to relieve the stress and pain of the people of Newcastle & Hunter.

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