Original story by Lee Walkington
When the floods tore through Rochester late last year, 90% of houses were affected.
In the nearby town of Elmore, temporary housing was set up to shelter the hundreds of displaced families.
Lion Lee from District V6’s Disaster Recovery Support Team and PDG Norm visited the make-shift village in Elmore to find out how the District could help.
Lion Lee said seeing the bare paddocks with rows of caravans and cabins for the first time was confronting.
“The people moving into this accommodation had their immediate needs met – food, shelter and clothing; it was their mental well-being that was our first concern,” she said.
During one visit, Lion Lee and PDG Norm raised concerns about the mental health of the residents. Soon after, a plan was put together which included ideas for a community garden, playground and BBQ area. The Disaster Recovery Support Team then needed to raise funds to bring the ideas to life.
Lions Clubs from across the District stepped up to help. The Cohuna Leo Club donated $500 worth of goods for children, including outdoor games, and library bags, as well as setting up a library area in the village; Echuca Lions Club purchased a large piece of play equipment for children; Elmore Lions Club donated a BBQ lunch; and Yarrawonga Lions Club are building ‘buddy benches’ to be placed by the playground.
Bunnings has also come to the party, donating and assembling BBQs, outdoor furniture, and equipment for a community garden area. And Cowra Men’s Shed is building two large outdoor BBQ tables and benches to complete the BBQ area.
These areas have been embraced by the residents of the village, with many getting involved in the community garden already.
“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said Lion Lee.
You can donate to the Australian Lions Foundation’s Emergency Disaster Appeal here.