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Over the 2019 Christmas period, as Australia was gripped by devastating bushfires, particularly along the New South Wales south coast, our staff across BaptistCare showed themselves to be ‘everyday heroes’ as they stepped up to help friends, neighbours, colleagues and complete strangers during this natural disaster.
Some of our aged care homes took in people affected by the fires, providing them with shelter and food. Our BaptistCare at home staff worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of our clients and staff, finding accommodation for people with nowhere to go.
Tragically, several of our care support staff, clients and volunteers lost their homes, and were supported during the process of finding temporary accommodation.
Our Chaplains responded to the situation, with eight BaptistCare Chaplains deployed with the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network, serving in evacuation centres between November 2019 and January 2020. In addition Chaplains distributed almost $2800 from our Chaplaincy Welfare Fund to clients, staff and volunteers impacted by the fires.
In January 2020 we partnered with the Baptist Churches of NSW/ACT as they established a Bushfire Relief and Recovery Campaign, supporting disaster-affected communities. This partnership included direct support to individuals and families impacted by the fires. Churches in these communities were allocated funds, to complement the existing work of other aid organisations on the ground.
In particular, Batemans Bay Baptist Church was deeply impacted by the fire when eight families from this church lost their homes, and they were further supporting another 38 households in their community.
To assist the Church’s response, BaptistCare were able to provide a loan vehicle, as well as working with the Baptist Association to source a Counsellor who started in April 2020, providing two days of counselling each fortnight to those in need.
Our ongoing partnership with the Baptist Churches ensures we can continue to help families and churches impacted by these devastating bushfires long into the future.