Chris and Lisa lost their home near Mogo in the Black Summer Bushfires. They received support from the Vulcan Street Community Hub in Moruya, the outcome of a new partnership between Anglicare and Thread Together in the wake of the fires.
During the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires that caused 5.4 million hectares of destruction in NSW, Chris worked through the night to set up Evacuation Centres in the South Coast towns of Moruya and Narooma.
While Chris worked to provide emergency shelter for the community, his wife Lisa and their four children were preparing to defend their property.
At 5am on News Years Eve, the fire front was just 12km away.
“There was a very funny feeling in the air that morning. It was very calm but I was the hottest I ever felt,” describes Lisa. Just 30 minutes later, the firestorm had reached the nearby town of Mogo. “I realised then that we were in trouble”.
Fortunately, their family evacuated safely but their home and possessions were destroyed.
“It is difficult at first because when you’ve lost everything, you don’t know what you need” says Lisa.
“We’d already been to a couple of the centres that had donated clothes which was fine for emergency clothing. But coming into Anglicare, people met us at the door and were very nice. They didn’t just give us new clothing and advice, but a sympathetic ear and someone to talk to” says Chris.
Anglicare have partnered with Thread Together to create the Vulcan Street Community Hub in Moruya where people affected by the bushfire can choose from a large range of brand new clothing, receive emergency food relief plus emotional and practical support.
Chris shared that the partnership between Anglicare and Thread Together made a huge difference to him. Being able to wear new clothes to work meant that things could be ‘business as usual’ helping him regain a sense of normality in his life.
“The biggest thing about the whole process is that it gives people dignity” says Chris.
“I didn’t know much about Anglicare [before the bushfires] but what they’ve done for us is amazing. They’ve become an extended family. So much so that we’re looking at ways that we can give back to Anglicare now,” says Lisa.
“Our friends and neighbours ask us ‘where did you get your shirt from?’ and it’s really exciting to tell them that they can come into Anglicare and get fitted out and be well looked after.”