Inner West Independent

Balmain locals lend a hand to the Hawkesbury

Drop-off at Blacktown Animal Holding Facility. Photo: Ella Kay

By KATE RAFFERTY

At the time of the Hawkesbury floods, the Warragamba Dam was spilling a Sydney Harbour’s worth of water, about 460 gigalitres, into the Sydney basin each day.

While that flood water from the Hunter-Nepean Valley filled the dam, rain battered the NSW coast, washing away homes, businesses and land.

As the devastation stretched on, Ella Kay, a resident of Balmain and full-time nanny, decided to run a supplies drop-off to the Hawkesbury region.

“Just seeing how many people had been affected and how much they had lost, I thought I’d organise something small to help out” said Ms. Kay.

Ms. Kay put a call out over Facebook to locals in Balmain, which was soon flooded with messages from locals wanting to help.

“I put out a few posts saying I wanted to do a small drop-off when the water goes down, and the response was amazing,” she said.

Quickly, local residents were dropping off bags of supplies at Ms Kay’s house, from blankets, towels and sheets, to dog beds.

“Everyone was so generous, just giving anything they could,” she said.

Supplies from Bunnings. Photo: Ella Kay

“Wall’s Pharmacy at Balmain even donated boxes of sanitary items, hand sanitiser, shampoo and more”.

With so many willing to help, Ella’s small online call-out turned into a three-time trip to the Hawkesbury and surrounding areas, in a Bunnings van packed to the brim. 

“We asked Bunnings if we could hire a van, because we had so many bags in the house my partner and I couldn’t actually move” said Ms. Kay.

“They were also incredibly generous. I walked around with two girls, Eliza and Bec who just said “take whatever you need”.”

Back and forth from Balmain to the suburbs of Windsor, Sackville, Wilberforce and more, Ella and her mum dropped off supplies to families, businesses and animal shelters that had been soaked by the floods.

Community generosity commended

The Hawkesbury Animal Shelter was one institution thankful for the helping hand.

“Our shelter staff have been able to use the blankets donated to clean up, and also for the dogs at night, as it begins to get cooler” said Linda Perrine, Director of City Planning at Hawkesbury City Council.

“We’re thankful to Ella for rounding up the donations during this flood recovery and we appreciate the generosity of the people who donated”.

While the act of giving can sometimes seem small, Ms. Kay says a little goes a long way.

“There was such a great spirit amongst the community, and everyone was so grateful for the donations. 

“It’s why I’ve always been interested in giving back.

“I have a Samoan background and my Nana, who I was very close to, would always try to help people in any way. I’ve taken that on as well” she said.

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