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‘Community looks after community’, Kingaroy residents are looking out for each other in tough times

Generous: Centacare’s Gail Moore is part of the team helping the Kingaroy community.

IN Kingaroy, community spirit is running high as Church, care agencies and businesses reach out to help the vulnerable during the pandemic period.

“Community looks after community,” Kingaroy Centacare Community Services operations manager John Stevenson said.

“We had two (COVID-19) cases here, six weeks ago … people who came from overseas, and they were isolated straight away. So we have been very lucky in that way.”

St Mary’s, Kingaroy parish priest Fr Chukwudi Chinaka said COVID-19 had created “scary times” – some stress and anxiety – but he felt closer to his parishioners than ever.

“Now people are digging deep,” he said.

“People are ringing asking ‘how can I help’? It’s just beautiful and I am looking forward to when we can come back together face-to-face.”

Among the good works in Kingaroy, local businesses have joined forces delivery essential food and supplies to those who need them.

“We want to make this difficult time a little bit easier for the older members of our community by offering housebound people over 60 a delivery of some essential items like fresh fruit and veg, milk and bread to help get them through this tough time,” local real estate agent, Trent Faunt told local newspaper, The South Burnett Times.

“We’ve noticed a number of our rental tenants around the region are starting to really struggle with all the new coronavirus rules and regulations so we wanted to come up with a way to reduce the stress on older residents trapped at home.

“They’ve lost a lot of their independence and ability to socialise because of this pandemic so we want to try and give just a tiny bit of that back to them by supplying them with a box of necessities.”

Offering hope: Fr Chukwudi Chinaka.

For every box of supplies Mr Faunt can provide, a local fruit market is matching the donation with a similar box of food and essentials.

“It’s important at times like this we look out for each other and the most vulnerable members of our community,” market owner Dan Andersson said.

“Our older community members have worked hard to provide and take care of this region throughout their lifetime so we’re just giving a little bit of that back to them when they might need it the most.”

Mr Stevenson said Centacare, well known as one of Kingaroy’s major aged care, NDIS and mental health service providers, was busy keeping contact with its clients – checking on how they are coping with social distancing, providing some social interaction and ensuring they have the supplies they need.

“We are contacting clients by phone, doing weekly check ups … so it’s a lot of phone calls at the moment,” he said.

“People are very positive, just getting on with it.”

Fr Chinaka said he was using the interactive app Zoom to continue Mass and church meetings.

“It keeps the community still connected. It’s just incredible how we have jumped to an online ministry,” he said.

“And we formed a committee to reach out to those people who don’t have the internet.”

For the not-so internet savvy, Fr Chinaka also keeps in touch with regular phone calls, as well as letterbox drops of parish news and information.

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