Towamba, NSW is a small town of about 230 people that lies forty minutes west of Eden near the border with Victoria. During the bushfire season of late 2019 to 2020, the area experienced intense bushfires that destroyed infrastructure and cut off power, water and the Internet. Everyone in the area was evacuated and homes were badly damaged or completely destroyed. As with many bushfire-affected residents, some felt forgotten as the country and world now grappled with a pandemic.

In mid-2020, the Baptist Association’s South Coast Emergency Disaster Relief Coordinator, Rob McGowan, and Pambula Baptist Church became aware that residents of Towamba were still living without water as the infrastructure had not been repaired. Andrew Grady, the National Recovery Support Officer for the Bega Valley reached out and asked if the Baptists wanted to be involved in a piping project to get water from the river onto properties in Towamba.

The Baptist Association’s drought and bushfire relief funds were able to supply 20, $500 vouchers to the local Farm Supply store, Southern Farm Supplies, to pay for the piping. Coates Hire supplied the backhoe to dig the trench and volunteer flight attendants from Qantas (not able to work due to Covid) volunteered labour to make the project happen. It was a collaborative, grass roots effort that provided relief to people who greatly needed it.

The project was facilitated through Pambula Baptist Church who continues to have connection with the area. The church reports that it was amazing to see God at work. When people came to pick up the vouchers, they came at 20-minute intervals, which allowed them to tell their stories and connect with the volunteers from Pambula Baptist.  Pastor Bronson Symes included his contact details with the vouchers which opened up the door for the church to connect with additional people in outlying communities who were struggling as a result of the fires. There are currently several more assistance projects running.

We thank everyone who helped to make this project happen and for the generous donors to our drought and bushfire relief funds. These funds have enabled our churches to connect into local communities and support residents in practical ways, showing the loving kindness of our Heavenly Father to whom no one is forgotten!

Written by Kelly Crawford (Bushfire Relief Coordinator)


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