By Alesha Capone
Community spirit has come to the fore to help a Point Cook family whose rental home was badly damaged by a fire.
No one was home when a blaze began at a house in Arbour Avenue, in the Alamanda estate on Monday afternoon.
Personal items such as photos, the childrens’ toys and school uniforms have been lost. The family did not have contents insurance.
While a friend has provided the family with a place to stay, many other people have also stepped up to help out.
Two Alamanda estate residents, Adrian Chng and Gagan Jhingran, have set up an online GoFundMe account to raise funds for the family.
They are asking for community members to make a donation – no matter how small – to help out the family.
The two men hope to raise a total of $20,000 through the GoFundMe.
In an extraordinary demonstration of community spirit, more than 230 people have already donated more than $12,300, within a 24-hour period.
Mr Chng and Mr Jhingran will donate all of the funds directly to the family.Mr Chng said he first met the family after the fire at their rental home, while Mr Jhingran is a neighbour.
“I live in Alamanda estate and went over to check out what I can do when I heard about the fire, and ended up talking to the family and their neighbours … while the fire was still being put out,” Mr Chng said.He described the public’s response to the GoFundMe account as “fantastic”.
“It’s not just the total amount that was collected but the number of people who gave,” he said.
“Over 200 people have donated at this point so far, including some from as far away as Singapore.
“It’s been really heartening to see how the community came together to rally around this family.
“They are all just reaching out to help essentially complete strangers – people they’ve probably never met in their lives, and possibly never will too — but each and every one of them is reaching out to offer what they can.
“There’s no question of ethnicity, religion or political affinity here at all – just that we’re all part of the Point Cook community and more generally the wider human community and a sense of, ‘Mate, I can see you’re in need – here’s a little of what I can give’.
“Many of us have children the same ages as their children, who go to the same or similar schools as their children.
“It really could have happened to any one of us, and that’s really galvanised the community to come together.”Mr Chng said the family had been contacted about the GoFundMe account.
He said the family was planning to use the money raised to replace some of the items they lost in the fire, especially the children’s belongings.
“The family is currently still in shock over the incident and in a state of semi-disbelief that this has happened to them,” Mr Chng said.
“When they were first informed of the GoFundMe site and other donation offers, their first reaction was they are unaccustomed to receiving gifts from complete strangers.”
Mr Chng said local organisations such as churches, Alamanda College and businesses have also sprung into action to help the family.
“There has been offers of free meals, school items such as stationery for the children, and even photography services,” he said.
On Friday, March 8 the club will play in a third-round FFA match at Saltwater Reserve, at 8.15pm. (Members of the public can attend the game).
Club president Lindsay Phillips said that the club was hoping around 200 to 300 people would attend the game. He said the club would “rattle tins” among the crowd, asking for gold coin donations to help out the family affected by the fire.
“When we heard what happened, we wanted to help out,” he said.
See www.gofundme.com/fire-coolum-street-alamanda-estate-point-cook to make a donation to help out the family.
If you wish to donate household or other items to help out, a registry of items can be accessed at goo.gl/forms/PkQBxdjIoagtIpOE3 (however, the family may not need everything on the list).