Fundraiser for Waikiki family

Fundraiser for Waikiki family
Fundraiser for Waikiki family
Fundraiser for Waikiki family

BARELY a week after fire gutted their Waikiki home, the Toalisa family has been heartened by an outpouring of generosity from the wider Rockingham community.

The family was not home when the blaze began last Friday, ripping through their family home of six years and causing around $450,000 damage.

Mum and dad Maria and Ernesto Toalisa said they were just happy everyone was OK. What happened next left them speechless.

“It’s been a blessing really. This happened Friday afternoon; about six o’clock it was all burnt. By Saturday morning we already got a call from Mrs (Tania) Ellis from South Coast Baptist College and she organised everything, all the donations,” Mrs Toalisa said.

The children’s school had heard the news and started a gofundme page to help the family, but it was not the only group quick to lend a hand.

“People have come every day, phone calls, even hugs and things like that. It’s been amazing,” Mrs Toalisa said.

“Our friends, the community, the school, the church, people who we don’t even know – they come here and help.”

The family has been staying at Mr Toalisa’s brother’s house during the day and at a friend’s house at night.

They lost pretty much everything.

“It was all gone in an hour. I can’t believe it, everything melted,” Mrs Toalisa said.

Mr Toalisa said even though the children were still young, the enormity of the situation was not lost on them.

“My little one said to me ‘hey dad, when are we going to wake up?.’ He still thinks it’s a dream,” he said.

“The memories we’ve got in the house, we can’t recover them. It was our dream house, our first, our kids had somewhere they could stay, no need to worry, but it’s gone.”

Donations have flooded into gofundme and about $5000 has been raised. People have been stopping by donating everything from toasters to Lego.

Among the donations, the Toalisa’s children Adon, Kasey, Sumi, Jazmine and Lowan have received clothes and toys, which their parents said they would be eternally grateful for.

“All of the material, it‘s been taken away; all the material it’s gone but it’s material,” Mrs Toalisa said.

“Thanks to everybody we have everything back, but when the family is taken away, that’s a different story.

“A lot of clothes for the kids, they’re happy. For them it’s like an early Christmas.”

“It’s good for us to see our kids happy. Every day has been getting a bit better but it’s a slow process… If our kids are OK then we are happy,” Mr Toalisa said.

The home was insured and the family moved into temporary accommodation on Wednesday.

Despite losing so much, Mr and Mrs Toalisa said they were feeling upbeat.

“Sometimes I don’t feel like I deserve all this, all this love, everything, it’s really amazing,” Mrs Toalisa said.

“It’s nice to feel loved.”

If you want to donate to the family’s gofundme, visit ps://www.gofundme.com/|toalisawestphal.