5 ways we came together during the floods

Aruma staff showed incredible resilience during the recent floods. Here are just five of those stories.

March 29, 2022

The impact of the recent floods in Queensland and Northern New South Wales has been devastating and far-reaching. Many of our own staff and customers were caught in the thick of it – and showed incredible strength.

Aruma CEO Andrew Richardson visited flood-affected areas and witnessed our staff truly going above and beyond, from staying with customers 24X7 to lending a hand with the clean-up.

What struck me most as I travelled around, was the incredible resilience, commitment and community spirit of our Aruma teams, he says. Despite local staff shortages, everyone stepped in and stepped up to keep our customers and each other safe.

With heavy rain hitting flood-affected areas once more, we wanted to share the stories of resilience from our staff and customers caught in the middle. Here are five stories of our wonderful staff banding together to help out.

1. Summerland Farm to the rescue

The staff at Summerland Farm went above and beyond to help those affected by the floods. After the extent of the damage was revealed, a team of 25 staff travelled to Lismore to clear out flooded houses, and many continued to work throughout the weekend.

Meanwhile, back at the farm more team members were busy collecting fresh produce and cooking 100 hot meals to be delivered to the evacuation centres. Way to go team!

2. We set up a GoFundMe

Sadly, some of our staff and customers lost their homes and belongings in the floods – everything they owned. Their friends and colleagues gathered around to support them, but staff wanted to do more – especially those who weren’t in the middle of the current crisis.

So, Aruma staff set up a GoFundMe page to support our colleagues and customers. Aruma even kicked it off with a $5,000 donation! The money raised will help impacted customers and staff replace personal belongings and cover cleaning and other costs.

3. Our laundry lends its linen

Our commercial laundry in Warabrook, NSW is heading up to Lismore with a literal truckload of sheets, towels, and other donated items give to flood-impacted residents. The hospitality-graded linen is no longer of use to top-quality hotels – but will be a huge help to those who lost their belongings.

Staff will drive more than six hours to Lismore in a company delivery truck to deliver the goods, and then straight back again so the truck can continue its daily duties. Plenty of coffee team!

Did you know? Our laundry also donates thousands of linen items every year to Aruma’s Supported Independent Living (SIL) homes, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters and to countries such as Samoa and Tonga? What a team!

4. Gold Coast staff to the rescue

Our Mullumbimby SIL was greatly impacted by the floods, with flood waters rising up to the fourth step of the building! Customers and staff were left isolated, without water or electricity.

Once the flood waters receded, a team of staff, customers and their families from the Gold Coast travelled to Mullumbimby to lend a hand with the clean up.

They worked hard to remove flood damaged items, scraping layers of mud, cleaning the driveways, pathways and yard and digging out the drains to reduce chances of further flooding. The team also donated water, food, cleaning products and clothes to the residents.

Naturally, the day’s hard work ended with a well-deserved BBQ.

5. The Farm transforms to help flood victims

Summerland Farm came to the rescue for a second time! It volunteered its warehouse spaces to be transformed into a distribution hub for donated goods to support NSW flood victims.

Fire and Rescue NSW firefighter Scott Peterson organised a fundraising drive across the firefighting service, which resulted in the large number of goods gathered for donation.

Teams of supported employees and other Summerland Farm staff worked tirelessly to sort through these items, including 18 pallets of bottled water, sanitary items, dog food, and shampoo and conditioner.

These goods were delivered to the grateful recipients via freight transport companies P & H Keast Transport and BJ & CT Transport.

Stay safe out there everyone!