Anglicare foster carers, Barb and Dave Rugendyke, have fostered more than 400 children over three decades. They currently care for a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old, as well as their adopted 8-year-old daughter, Sarah, and they regularly provide respite care to toddler twins.
Sadly, they lost their home and all of their belongings during the ferocious bushfire that ripped through Cobargo on News Years Eve 2019. But even losing everything they had didn’t stop them from fostering.
“It was a really difficult year. I think continuing to foster in the aftermath of the bushfires helped life feel more normal. Like everything wasn’t all gone. We could still be useful and it was a bit of our old life we could hold onto when we had nothing,” says Barb.
For the first few months after the fires, the family lived in four tents and a caravan before moving into a refurbished shed donated by Barb’s nephew. Barb said caring for three children in temporary accommodation was challenging during the last year, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Barb and Dave are remarkable people and we would be lost without them” says Sue Cullen, Anglicare’s Permanency Sue with Barb and Dave outside their new home Support Program (Foster Care) Manager, South Coast.
“What they’ve offered to children over the years is incredible. They are simply amazing people,” says Sue.
One week before Christmas 2020, almost one year since the loss of their house, Barb, Dave, their foster children and daughter Sarah, moved into their newly rebuilt home.
Anglicare is working to recruit new foster carers across regional NSW to ensure all children and young people have a supportive and nurturing home environment to help them hope, heal and thrive.
Anglicare continues to support bushfire-affected individuals and families with emergency food relief, new clothing, pastoral care, financial counselling and a number of community development projects.
For assistance, please visit www.anglicare.com.au/bushfirerecovery
To find out more about becoming a foster carer with Anglicare, please visit www.anglicare.com.au/fostercare
Pictured below: South Coast PSP Manager Sue Cullen with Barb and Dave Rugendyke in front of their newly rebuilt home.