Firefighters' lunch box surprise

When firefighters on the mid-north coast of NSW stopped for lunch last week they found a surprise tucked in with their sandwiches.

Each tired and hungry volunteer got a card that had been handmade by a student from St Joseph’s Primary School in Merriwa.

The cards thanked the firefighters for helping protect homes, animals and property from the fierce fires in the region.

Just saying thanks

“We just wanted to let them know that we’re thankful for what they’re doing,” says Year 6 student Olivia Collins.

“Without them a lot more houses would be destroyed.”

Many homes were saved but many buildings were lost, particularly in the tiny town of Uarbry.

So those same students plan a special day to raise money for the families who lost their homes and belongings.

“We thought we could have a day where kids get dressed up in the colours of fire and water,” says Olivia. “We would ask for a gold coin donation to raise money for the families.”

Patrick McLaren, also in Year 6, says the plan is to buy gift vouchers.

“When your house gets burnt down you lose all your stuff, so it helps to have gift vouchers to buy some of the stuff you need like clothes and food and that kind of thing,” he says.

“It’s really important to help them regain their confidence and get back on their feet,” Olivia says.

Food to go

At Coolah Central School, about an hour from Merriwa, students made food for the firefighters.

With teachers’ help, the high school students cooked quiches, zucchini slices and other treats.

The food was then taken to the nearby sports club, which was being used as a base for firefighters, police and some farmers who had been forced to leave their homes.

“The kids are making a contribution and I think they’re also learning from the experience,” St Joseph’s principal, Helen Whale, says.

“It’s about rolling your sleeves up and helping out when bad things happen in life.”

This story was originally published in Crinkling News, the only national newspaper for young Australians.

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