Volunteers gather clean-up momentum
VOLUNTEER Whitsundays group founder Jo Sweeney has described the online group’s efforts to clean up the region in the wake of Cyclone Debbie as “contagious giving”.
Daily working bees will be scaled back to one a week from Sunday.
“Beyond the structured working bees, recovery has moved to relief and in the future we are focusing making as much of a footprint but in a different way,” Ms Sweeney said.
“Our momentum won’t stop, it will just change.”
Volunteer Whitsundays has now partnered with the Endeavour Foundation and will focus efforts on the elderly in the community.
Through the GoFundMe page set up by Volunteer Whitsundays, more than $5600 has now been raised.
The group is asking the Whitsunday community for ideas on how the money should be spent.
Ms Sweeney said she had been inspired by what the group had achieved and the by big-hearted Whitsunday community which had delivered help to so many in need.
“People are posting to our page and people are connecting with each other and are helping each other out,” she said.
“That is the real community spirit of having a community-run Facebook page.”
Ms Sweeney said more than 200 volunteers had offered to help move fallen trees and clean up the region and many more had donated household items.
Volunteer Whitsundays would now offer motivational speakers, counsellors and live music to provide extra support, she said.
Ms Sweeney praised Tracey Lord who she described as a “community champion” for driving the GoFundMe page and helping people directly.
She also praised Heather Batrick, who has been in charge of organising clean-up operations, job scheduling and volunteer sign-ups, and Chris Panan who as well as being the media liaison has been active on a chainsaw.
She said Volunteer Whitsundays looked forward to working with groups such as Rotary and Cannonvale Neighbourhood Centre in the ongoing recovery effort.
KEEN TO HELP: Chris Pannan snaps a selfie with some of the Volunteer Whitsundays clean-up crew.