Geraldton donation drive to deliver support to Perth fire-affected

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Liam BeattyGeraldton Guardian
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Suzanne Roberts with husband Matt Bennett sorting donated clothing.
Camera IconSuzanne Roberts with husband Matt Bennett sorting donated clothing. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Dozens of Geraldton residents today have rallied behind one woman’s efforts to deliver clothing, toiletries and household basics to evacuation centres in Perth.

Hundreds of people are currently languishing in limbo while an out of control fire tears through the Perth Hills with 71 homes already lost.

Originally from the affected area, Suzanne Roberts woke her husband at 2am in tears after speaking to friends and family.

“It has affected so many people,” she said. “Some of my friends have lost absolutely everything.”

“It’s hit me really hard, I’ve been very emotional. I was caught up in the Perth hills fire back in 2018 which was terrifying so I’ve got an idea of what they’re all going through.”

Convinced she needed to do something, Ms Roberts has organised a donation drive posting an appeal on Facebook which has since attracted hundreds of likes, comments and shares.

“It’s been amazing to see the swell of support from the Geraldton community,” she said. “Everyone here is so concerned about the fire and wants to help out.”

“I’ve been speaking to people I know in the evacuation centres, often all they have left is the clothes on their backs. This is why is so important we send down essentials now.”

Bags containing clothes, toiletries and household essentials are sorted for ease delivering.
Camera IconBags containing clothes, toiletries and household essentials are sorted for ease delivering. Credit: Geraldton Guardian

Soon Michelle Lalor and Peter Burton of Geraldton Stockfeeds got in touch saying they had an empty truck heading to Perth to pick up supplies — crucially it was also exempt from travel restrictions as an essential service.

“Suzi and I are close friends,” Michelle Lalor said. “When we heard what she was planning we said let’s do it.”

Thousands of items have since been delivered to their Woorree store front where they were sorted and loaded into the empty truck.

“Dwight Pedlow from Equine Australia has arranged it all in Perth,” Ms Roberts said. “The truck will be leaving tomorrow morning at 9am and everything will go directly to the evacuation centres.”

The team are still collecting donations with hundreds texting Ms Roberts to say they intended to come after work hours today.

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