WHAT started as a devastating event for one family has opened the door for hundreds of others to receive a helping hand.
When a Coolbellup family lost their house in a fire, Gary Allen was among a group of residents that banded together through a donation drive to help get them back on their feet.
From there the idea for a formalised service to help local families in need began to take shape and in May 2016 Cooby Cares was born.
Mr Allen said the aim had been to connect with families and help make their homes into places they could feel safe.
“We wanted to make Cooby Cares a donation service where people who wanted to help others can do so easily,” he said.
“We were amazed how many people were sleeping on the floor or sitting on junk with no fridges or washing machines, and very quickly we had picked up beds, sofas, kitchen items, white goods and other items from other suburbs and delivered them into Coolbellup, all items we take for granted.
“In the first few weeks it was obvious that the need was much greater than my initial estimate of two hours per week and we were doing 30 hours per week.
“After nine months we started food packages and recently we started fresh food packages.”
Two years on, Mr Allen said the generosity of those who donated goods had allowed Cooby Cares to help more than 400 people.
“We have shifted around 50 households full of furniture and last Christmas we provided over 60 food hampers and 130 children’s presents,” he said.
“This year, as we have expanded to cover the cities of Fremantle, Melville and Cockburn, we have doubled the households we help with over 180 food boxes, 400 loaves of bread, 70 fruit and veg boxes, 50 ladies packs and 400 Easter eggs.
“It’s critical to successful communities that everyday people get together to assist those less fortunate.“We are all involved because we have a basic belief that only by doing things differently can we change the status quo.”
What you can donate to Cooby Cares
-Fruit and vegetables
-Linen, towels, floor rugs
-Baby clothes, food, wipes, nappies, cots
-Sofas, beds, shelving, fridges, washing machines
-Microwaves, kettles, toasters, cutlery
-House cleaning products
-Ladies Sanitary products and personal hygiene products