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Australian Latter-day Saints spend hours helping those devastated by record-breaking floods


More than a hundred members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints drove from Australia’s Gold Coast to the town of Lismore in Northern New South Wales this past weekend, bringing food, supplies, fuel, labor, love and support into an area destroyed by recent flooding.

They plan to go back this coming weekend as well. The cleanup is expected to take weeks or months in New South Wales and Queensland.

President Daniel Shine, president of the Gold Coast Australia Stake, told Australia Newsroom: “While the impact of the floods has been devastating, the willing support of our members has lifted others and provided practical help in inspiring ways.”

The call goes out

Volunteers line up Saturday, March 5, 2022, to carry donations for communities impacted by recent floods in Lismore, Australia.

Volunteers line up Saturday, March 5, 2022, to carry donations for communities impacted by recent floods in Lismore, Australia.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The evening of Thursday, March 3, a call went out asking for donations to be dropped off at the stake center. The next day, hundreds of Church members, neighbors and friends from the Gold Coast Stake and the neighboring Coomera Stake delivered items well into the night and again the following morning.

Because of so much community support and so many donations, organizers had to look for more vehicles. Volunteers loaded into 11-seat vans and left early Saturday, March 5. Many of them were from the Gold Coast Stake’s young single adult ward. 

That Saturday, C.J. Taulepa, 26, told Australia Newsroom: “Driving into Lismore today, I couldn’t believe this was Australia. I have never seen anything this bad in my life, it was heartbreaking.”

Other volunteers described the streets of Lismore looking like a war zone, with overturned vehicles, and trailers lodged in trees. Many towns along the way were also badly affected.

Volunteers from the Gold Coast Australia Stake organize donated supplies on Saturday, March 5, 2022, to help victims of devastating floods.

Volunteers from the Gold Coast Australia Stake organize donated supplies on Saturday, March 5, 2022, to help victims of devastating floods.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The volunteers unloaded the donated food, clothing and supplies into the Lismore Ward meetinghouse, filling several rooms. Ward leaders said they were expecting a 10th of what arrived. Due to the enormity of the donations, Church leaders opened the chapel to the wider community to access supplies, reported Australia Newsroom. Local radio stations were contacted to get the word out to those in need.

Then groups got their assignments and — geared with gumboots and gloves — they got to work.

Cleaning up and helping out

A home after major floods in Lismore, Australia, March 2022.

A home after major floods in Lismore, Australia, March 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Volunteers from the Church worked alongside other community organizations and faith groups to clean homes, yards, streets and local businesses all weekend. The streets were filled with volunteer vehicles from other faith and community groups and individuals wanting to help.

“It was heartwarming to see so many rally around those in need,” one helper told Australia Newsroom. Some had traveled hours to be there. They removed wreckage and debris, then washed and cleaned mud out of flooded homes. Very little was salvageable.

The stake had planned to serve around the community for “Come and Help” Month, which is an effort by the Church’s Pacific Area to take part in community service projects. The heavy rains and flash flooding had canceled their plans, but the weekend of March 5-6 was an answer to the call to “Come and Help” in Lismore.

Volunteers clean out flooded homes in Lismore, Australia, March 5, 2022.

Volunteers clean out flooded homes in Lismore, Australia, March 5, 2022.

Credit: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

As the cleanup in New South Wales and Queensland continues, Church leaders and members are coordinating with local government and emergency officials. Many are finding opportunities to serve in their communities at JustServe.org.

An activity on March 12 to celebrate the 180th anniversary of the Relief Society has now been changed to be a family service day in Lismore. The stake Relief Society president, Penny Owen, told Australia Newsroom it will be a way to extend the pure love of Jesus Christ.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to serve where our efforts are so needed,” Owen said.

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