Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Roads Ahead

SEE WEBSITE www.bakedrelief.org

We are trending in the top 5 tweets in Australia.

This blog has had more than 8,000 hits in a week.

The new website www.bakedrelief.org had 2,237 hits on the first day.

Monday was a tough day. I will break it down.
I personally provided food for:

Alderley Police Station which is looking after the Looting Taskforce - LOADS of beautiful cakes provided by Jocelyns Provisions in New Farm who gave to Baked Relief. We are providing ongoing support to our Emergency services by local Baked Relief drop offs.

Drift at Corro Drive - a huge tray of mini quiches which they LOVED and matched swimmingly (pun intended) with the beautiful goods which Rachel (my Branch President) rallied to put together. They are still loving the shade and the support and love.

Turner Street, Fairfield - Lunch and afternoon tea to some residents badly affected.

Many random SES, Army, truck drivers around the place.

30 x 1.5 litre bottles of water to a BBQ in Goodna where a man who wasn't affected got his daughters together and they have been running BBQ, fruit and cold softdrinks there for the week. All provided by him and people he knows who wanted to support by doing something practical. He had totally run out of water. I have promised to get more water to him in the coming days. Along with lovely cupcakes (we left approx 40 on the table for the troups) He is a Baked Relief Hero!

I was getting closer to the Lockyer at least. It was around 2pm and I decided to make the treak to Esk for afternoon tea drop off and to gage needs over the coming days.

On the approach to Fernvale, I got this sinking feeling in my stomach. I knew that something was wrong, but I knew I had to push through. Jumped out of the car and began handing out wrapped treats and then I found myself smack bang into a HELL I never want to experience again.

In Brisbane I have seen some streets which can only be described as war zones. But I realised at that point that in Brisbane it was a war zone of environment, but in Fernvale it is a war zone of broken hearts. There is a very different feel there.

In Brisbane it seems there is an amour around people. Most have volunteers helping out, the army arriving, order restored, the council trucks, the hugs and smiling faces of unaffected friends who bring food, cheer and support.

In Fernvale that have NONE of this. I don't know what the percentages of those affected are, but it seems a HUGE number in relative terms to Brisbane. And there arent the line ups of volunteers out there.

They have a well organised camp kitchen set up outside, a second hand store for people to take from and posters and line ups and people 'taking a number' like at the Deli to get some salami, but they are lining up for government financial support.

What broke my heart was a young couple sitting with their number holding hands with the deepest sorrow I have EVER seen on someones face. The kind of sorrow that you think will always be in their eyes even if their mouth does turn up at the ends one day.

I offered them some Baked Relief and they declined. I tried to convince them to take it, they wouldn't. I asked "Have you eaten today?" They kinda looked at each other and mummbled "ummm, yeahhh,,,no....not....sure" I made them take some of the healthy slice I had and said "Maybe you will feel like it later"

When I got back to the car and began to drive out of Fernvale and onto Esk I lost it. I lost it for the first time in all of this. I had to stop the car to cry, and sob and grieve. I have nothing to grieve for compared to these people, but my heart was breaking. Then I continued on, still crying.

Only a couple of km along my trip to Esk, there was a 'Road Closed' sign. WHAT? Then as I turned the bend and headed down I was faced with this:

The road was totally flooded. That is a huge crossing and parts of it were running very fast.
Maybe I wasn't going to get to Esk. A little bit of my heart is in Esk Valley.

So I went back into town and found somewhere to buy maps (I had forgotten my SEQ maps, they are in the picnic basket, which is surreal now... so far removed from a picnic this is!) The only thing they had was this street directory that looked vintage. I just bought it, I needed something. When I got to the car and opened it up, I was surprised. This street directory was all hand written! Very vintage.
This street directory told me that although Fernvale is only just down the road, they are slightly forgotten, they are basic, get the job done people. They dont need big fancy coloured UBD (or Malways in the Southern states) or GPS systems. They have a hand drawn street directory to tell them where they are going.

I needed time to think about this. And I needed to brainstorm how I was going to get to Esk. I was very tired and very emotional so I decided to head home and spend the drive time reflecting on the sadness I found in Fernvale.

Everyone needs to know they are cared for. That they are important. I want them to have a bit of colour in their life though, I want to bring them something a bit special. Something to tell them that although they are down the road from Brisbane, we think, we care and love them.
Fernvale is just one of the towns which will be top priority in our Lockyer Feed-a-thon Project. As Brisbane's Mayor was quoted "This isn't a sprint, this is a marathon" and I want people to commit to feeding this community with food made with love for as long as they need it.

With Kay running IT, Mel running PR, and me being the CEO without the corner office, but in the best place I can be we are changing this world with team of girls coordinating their local areas and the bakers and the delivery people and the supporters which bring food and offers of kitchens and stock... WE COULDN'T DO THIS WITHOUT YOU! But we are all doing it for free!

A special mention to Linda who is managing my emails and getting me up to date information I need! xox And to my sister Tammie for putting up with my 'Devil Wears Prada' boss style way!

We have also launched the Adopt a Family Project. We are data matching people in metro areas to cook a meal a week for someone who has been flood affected. Some of these people will not be returning to their homes for months and months and although I don't know yet where they are all going to go, what I do know is that we will find them and we will support them with home cooked meals delivered by a family who as adopted them for as long as they need it. For more information see Contact Us.

How we are going to do this once we need to return to work, I do not know. But the path will be mapped for and something will happen and it will all work out.

You are all doing an amazing job. Your support has been nothing short of extraordinary. Who would have thought so many people could bake and cook and wanted to get out there and NURTURE South East Queensland.

Volunteers are not paid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.


  1. You are an extraordinary woman...so heartbreaking...maybe there is something out there, up there, after all, as I am blessed to know you...and well, you know the rest x

  2. Just saw you on tv. I'm sorry that I can't personally help as I am madly running between daily hospital visits and trying to cope with extra work commitments but I did want to say that you bring tears to my eyes and to keep up the great work you and the team are doing. Thank you! xx

  3. You are in my thoughts, D. I hope you can feel the massive support from everybody. Good luck.

  4. I am reading this with goose bumps. You are doing an amazing job! Hopefully all the efforts of the well intended will reach and touch Fernvale soon. My workplace is holding a bake sale tomorrow to raise money for work mates affected by the floods and what is left over will be donated to Baked Relief.

  5. Actually that book you bought is the best resource for maps of non-metro areas in SEQ. I have tradie friends who have used it for 30 years and would never use a GPS outside Brisbane. Google maps and other satellite based systems are based on gazetted roads i.e. what should be there on official maps -- this book is based on what really is there. I have bought and given copies to many friends and family members. I don't go out without it in the car. And I just love the hand-drawn maps.

  6. You are doing an awesome job.
    Saw you on Tv last night and after reading the post very happy you finally got to Esk
    I am at home with the kids for the rest of the week, but if you like I could make some more muffins/ or banana bread if I could have someone pick it up or I can drop it locally.
    Let me know.


I enjoy hearing from everyone. Thank you so much!