Byron pulls together to weather the storm

Paul Bibby

The Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre’s cupboards were nearly bare.

With dozens of vulnerable locals coming to the Centre for food after finding the supply of cheap tinned produce virtually gone from supermarket shelves, there was only a day or two’s worth of food left.

From left, Mel Williams from Mullumbimby Neighbourhood Centre with centre manager Julie Williams and Food Hub volunteer coordinator Karen Andrews. Image Jeff Dawson

‘On Monday we got absolutely hammered,’ Centre Manager Julie Williams said.

‘We had an inundation of people who are saying I just can’t get what we need.’

Then, amidst the fear and hoarding, people started giving.

In an inspiring act of kindness, the Byron Food Hub donated $2,000 worth of bulk food supplies – giving the centre a huge boost.

The donation also came from the Hub’s tenants, including Little Valley Distribution, All Good Food Company and Pirlos Wholesalers.

Then, Mullumbimby Hire and Sales donated the use of a mobile cool room so that it could keep these and other food donations for longer, ensuring that every item could be given to someone who needed it.

This was dispite the company being hit hard by cancellations.

‘It’s actually hard to put into words what this has done,’ Ms Williams said.

‘How beautiful that at a time when people are fearful and panicked and worried they can still dig deep like that and help people out.

‘There are some amazing human beings in this community.

And it didn’t stop there.

After putting the word out that they needed help, the Centre has received everything from individuals dropping in one or two items, to an anonymous person buying $50 through IGA.

‘We said let’s put it out there and ask if people have anything they can drop in, and the response has been amazing,’ Ms Williams said.

‘We’ve had everything from one or two items to an anonymous person buying $50 through IGA, through to Byron Food Hub providing over $2,000 worth of food. It is amazing.’

There have been countless other acts of kindness across the Shire as rainbow resident pull together to support and care for one another.

Byron Community Centre in need

Meanwhile, the Byron Community Centre is asking for donations from the community so that it can continue to provide services to the region’s most vulnerable.

With the Byron markets and the Theatre forced to close, the centre is without funding for the services it provides to seniors and the homeless.

General Manager Louise O’Connell said that at the same time, demand for the services were increasing dramatically due to the sudden economic downturn.

‘If you can help financially on a weekly basis, our community would be most grateful,’ she said.

‘Ten dollars a week provides two female hygiene packs. $50 per week means that we can off one day of the showers program for the homeless and $150 a week feeds 30 homeless people a hot meal.’

The Centre was also grateful for lump sum donations, she said.

‘If you are unable to support financially, perhaps you could volunteer to help us serve our community or donate goods and services.’

To help, visit

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2 responses to “Byron pulls together to weather the storm”

  1. Libby Stewart says:

    A lot of wealthy people have moved to Byron Bay since my surfing days in the 1970’s. Let’s hope they dig deep and give back to the community, from which many have made their fortunes and many continue to prosper.

  2. Ginga says:

    Thank you! 💖💖💖

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