READY TO WRAP: Lizzie Harvey, Rob Anderson, Paul Battle, Carmen Evans, and Emilie Williams with the donations from Coast Chiropractic.
READY TO WRAP: Lizzie Harvey, Rob Anderson, Paul Battle, Carmen Evans, and Emilie Williams with the donations from Coast Chiropractic.

Seasons greetings to Dalby families from coastal communities

A CAR load of gifts and donations for vouchers and food all the way from the Sunshine Coast will help make Christmas a little easier for some Dalby families.

In true rural community fashion, the connection for this donation to Helping Hands didn’t come from a big business or faceless group.

Local business man Rob Anderson was speaking to his chiropractor, Sally Battle, while at the Sunshine Coast, talking about how tough the festive season was going to be for some families in the drought stricken Western Downs.

On Friday, December 13, Mr Anderson from Agrifoods and Paul Battle from Coast Chiropractic were able to hand over their gift donations and tick a few items off Helping Hands’ Christmas list.

Mr Battle said his business tries to help someone out every Christmas.

“From meeting with Rob on that occasion Sal just said ‘these guys are doing it tough out there’, and it was just the fact that Rob was from Dalby and I was from Dalby I thought well let’s do something out there.”

Mr Anderson put Mr Battle in contact with Carmen Evans from Helping Hands to find out what they could do.

A wheelbarrow in the reception of the chiropractor’s office gradually filled with gifts and donations from the staff and clients at Coast Chiropractic.

Knowing their gifts and donations would be going directly to those who needed them was important to Mr Battle and the others involved.

“We had a neighbour come through last night at half past 8 with $100 and just said, as long as it’s going straight to these people and not a big corporation … she said ‘I’m happy as hell to donate’,” he said.

“I’m just blown away by the generosity of these people who are here to help.”

The ongoing hard times have been felt in the community and Ms Evans from Helping Hands said donations had been slower this season than the past few years.

“A couple of weeks before our Christmas toy run is finished, I usually put a post up on Facebook where I give all the totals of all the kids that we need in age groups and genders,” she said.

“In the past we would have people jump on that post and say ‘I’ll take the boys age 3’, ‘I’ll take the boys age 10’, ‘I’ll take the girls age 12’, and then it just flows in.

“This year, it’s not happening and I think it is mainly because of the drought.

“People are that financially strapped that they just cannot afford to donate any more.

“So having this kind of thing happen to us was an absolute God sent because we were stressed out of our minds.

“My list grew longer and longer and longer.

“(Thursday’s) tally was 72 children that we’ve got to give this year, and that’s 25 families including the four farmers that we’re doing ourselves, then we’ve got another six farmers that we’re helping through Lions.

“That’s about a quarter of what the other charities in town are helping as well because we’ve all got a list that we share and that list is massive.

“So being able to receive a donation like this means that none of these kids is going to have to go without now.”

If you would like to keep up to date with Helping Hands or find out how you can help this Christmas, follow them on Facebook at Helping Hands Dalby and surrounds.