VOLUNTEERS AT THE Railway St distribution centre: David Hooker (father of LJ Hooker), Bianca Sessions, John Boyd, Regina Samykanu-Vuthapanidi, Jenny Mann and Jaime Hoad.
VOLUNTEERS AT THE Railway St distribution centre: David Hooker (father of LJ Hooker), Bianca Sessions, John Boyd, Regina Samykanu-Vuthapanidi, Jenny Mann and Jaime Hoad.

Businesses lend a hand

WHEN times are tough, people band together to support one another and their community.

But sometimes help is needed from afar.

When LJ Hooker was on his honeymoon in the Maldives and heard about the disaster in the Lockyer Valley, he and his newly-wedded wife jumped on the first plane they could to get here and help out.

Last week, LJ Hooker was in town to see what the situation was in the Lockyer Valley and his father, David Hooker, also paid a visit to the relief centre.

“By him coming here to see how we were suffering it shows his support – he is asking for money to go into the local appeal,” John Boyd of LJ Hooker Gatton said.

“He saw the drama and devastation and his wife Anna was very efficient in helping.

“Mr Hooker came in Saturday morning and bought $10,000 worth of white goods and electrical appliances from local stores for people that have lost everything in Grantham and elsewhere.”

“In doing this he is keeping the local economy strong as well,” Mr Boyd said.

Mr Hooker's father has stayed in town to help out in the shop, as it is overloaded with goods.

“The response from everybody has been more than fantastic, but we don't need more clothes or linen unless it is new. We've just got too much at the moment.”

Regina Samykanu-Vuthapanidi from the International Food Emporium has joined in the cause, working around the clock with other local business people to get peoples' lives back in working order and homes in liveable conditions. 

John Boyd of LJ Hooker Gatton has been a major part of the co-ordinating and running all the release and drop-off points.

“We've been relocating people and finding them temporary accommodation and they were picking up stuff from the old landscape centre set up as a relief centre,” he said.

He added the cleaning up has been met with sorting out a surplus of donated goods.

The relief centre now has about 18 storage crates of clothes and other appliances and almost 100 TVs.

“We've received so much stuff that we can't store and sort it in time,” he said.

“There are thousands and thousands of bags and clothes but you need people to sort that out.

“What we do need is stuff like stoves and fridges because we are short of whitegoods, and beds and mattresses.”

Mr Boyd is encouraging the public to tag second-hand donations so it can be checked by electricians before people can take them home.

“It must be electrically-certified that it is safe,” he said.


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