North Burnett Regional Council councillor Faye Whelan.
North Burnett Regional Council councillor Faye Whelan. Contributed

Generosity shines as community rallies to support Tonga

COMMUNITY, generosity and commitment are important to Division 3 Councillor Faye Whelan and this year she was very proud to be part of a dedicated effort to help the people of Tonga after the nation was left devastated by Tropical Cyclone Gita early in February.

Cr Whelan said the "very successful” Mundubbera Social Cohesion Committee of council, which she chairs, organised a Rebuild Tonga event in April which raised more than $13,000.

"We've got a great relationship with the Kingdom of Tonga, and especially after the 2013 floods when the Tongan workers here helped evacuate houses, we wanted to help them for what they'd done for us.

"From the money we reaised, we purchased some groceries and goods locally which we shipped in big crates and we also had donations from churches and businesses as well as Wide Bay Health who sent items that were no longer usable in our hospitals.

"Four people went to Tonga to distribute the goods and make sure it went to the most affected.

"So, the highlight o the this year for me was that committee and bringing the whole community together,” Cr Whelan said.

She said that after the visit, the committee had identified that the local hospital in Tonga is "very desperate” for hospital beds, so they have contacted Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service and are working with Mundubbera Rotary Club to find a way to ship the beds to Tonga.

She said the initiative has been led by the committee but "really driven by community”.

"I think my community is always very giving and very supportive, resilient and really happy to help others.,” Cr Whelan said.

She said she was also very grateful throughout the year to the volunteers at the Mundubbera Heritage and Visitor Information Centre.

"They're hard workers and we appreciate what they've given and how they've welcomed visitors and let them know how great the North Burnett region is,” she said.


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