Facing the challenges at Eden

"We have lost something major here, our security for winter," Jodie Dunnage of Ollie Masons said.
"We have lost something major here, our security for winter," Jodie Dunnage of Ollie Masons said.

When the CWA asked Helen Barnes of Supply Central if she could organise a 'Buy a Bale' fundraiser, she said no problem.

Posts went out on social media, people started coming in to the shop to contribute and as of yesterday Helen had collected $13,725 and given out $13,222.50.

"It's $25 a bale but some give more and some give less. On Friday an American couple from Arkansas, who came to Eden on the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel, came into the shop and bought two bales; now it's international fund," Helen said.

"I just put it through the till and as people come in who have been burnt out, if I have anything here that can help, then they get it free," she explained.

On Friday an American couple from Arkansas, who came to Eden on the cruise ship Norwegian Jewel, came into the shop and bought two bales; now it's international fund.

Helen Barnes, Supply Central

Mostly they are customers who Helen knows have been badly affected by the fires. "Some have lost everything," she said.

But in addition now people are coming in voicing their concerns about the wildlife.

"Out of town people have noticed the effect on the wildlife. Wonboyn village has seen a big influx of kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, all looking for food and water," Helen said.

On Friday she had a pallet of kangaroo and wild bird food delivered but she said she was expected it to go within a week.

Helen Barnes of Supply Central has now raised $13,7725 which is being redistributed to fire-affected people in need of pet and stock supplies.

Helen Barnes of Supply Central has now raised $13,7725 which is being redistributed to fire-affected people in need of pet and stock supplies.

Across the street at Ollie Mason's Cafe Jodie Dunnage has been trying to find her way through the government paperwork to get some help.

"We just don't have any visitor traffic. People come here from the south. It's been very frustrating about the lack of understanding for Eden," Jodie said.

With the return of schools this week, she said the main holiday period was over.

"We've lost something major here, our security for winter."

In the meantime she is trying to get some financial assistance but doesn't see a loan as the answer.

"We have mortgage and rent commitments. We can't afford another debt. Centrelink want to see what we've been earning. What we've got is accumulated debt," Jodie said.

But despite her own problems, Jodie was quick to point out others who have been helping out in Eden mentioning both Supply Central and the CWA where the rooms have been used as a food distribution point.

Eden CWA president Sharon Nammensma said that in the immediate aftermath of the fires, the CWA helped with food for emergency services.

"We opened up here as a distribution centre on January 2, put out a call for volunteers, eight people turned up and the sandwiches were all done and dusted in no time at all," Sharon said.

Now lunches and breakfasts are organised for around 140 emergency services and contracting personnel and the task is getting shared around cafes who are being paid for the job.

The CWA rooms have become a distribution point for food generally and anyone can walk in and pick up some provisions. Sharon said that she was taking a couple of large bags of rice which had been donated to The Pantry.

"Anglicare is doing the clothes, the church is doing food and over at the Access Centre Katrina Severs is helping with paperwork (for Centrelink payments and claims)," Sharon said.

Volunteers at the CWA rooms distribute lunches and snack packs every day for emergency services and contractors.

Volunteers at the CWA rooms distribute lunches and snack packs every day for emergency services and contractors.

This story Facing the challenges at Eden first appeared on Magnet.

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