By JENI FAULKNER
COFFS HARBOUR residents have answered the call to assist tsunami victims with open arms, and the spirit of generosity is spreading from families through to businesses houses, pensioners and even young children.
The Tsunami Relief Appeal, being conducted by the Coffs Coast Advocate and its fellow APN newspapers, has received a wonderful response, with more than 100 people bringing their donations to our office yesterday.
The local total is now at $27,805, with more than $10,000 raised yesterday from 9am. The total amount donated so far across APN newspapers is about $425,000.
By the end of the week, APN newspapers hope to have raised $1 million, which will be used to help Sri Lankan families.
The Atherton family has donated $500 to the appeal, and their mother, Elaine, even went to the Red Cross and put down her name as a volunteer aid nurse.
"There is so much grief in the world and it is so sad so I want to help out in any way possible," Elaine said.
The owners of the Sunset Caravan Park at Woolgoolga, the Thompson family, donated $1000 to the appeal. "You always want to do something in these situations and there isn't much else to offer except money," they said.
"If we could jump on a plane and get over there and help we
would be the first family to do it but we have no training to offer over there."
School student Brooke Martin, 14, from Sawtell decided to get behind our appeal with a doorknock in her neighbourhood. Brooke spent the weekend baking cookies with her mother which she then passed on to those who donated money. She raised a total of $55.
Aside from our appeal, other residents have taken the cause to the next level, starting their own fundraisers.
Pauline Andree, from Scoffs Restaurant at the Jetty, is organising a lunchtime appeal for January 30. Her family is Sri Lankan and although none were directly affected she knows others who are.
She has also approached other restaurants in the area who are willing to participate on the day. Phone 6651 1516.
Donna Oxborough from Coffs Harbour said donating money was just not enough for her and this week she's asking people to give items for children.
"I've been keeping an eye on how much money is being donated, but right now I think the children need comforts," Donna said.
Over the next three weeks Donna will be calling on the community to offer soft toys, clothes and books for the victims.
She is willing to pick up items and is hoping an organisation or business will assist her with postage costs. Phone 6650 9134.
Yesterday, a family from Diggers Beach contacted the paper wanting to become a drop-off point for clothing donations.
Having travelled around Sri Lanka, the family wanted to give something back to the communities and they will be accepting light clothing, sheets and anything else appropriate for the cause. Items should be bagged and dropped to 10 Cutter Drive. Phone Kath on 0422 987 737.
Elektra Macdonald from Bellingen has joined the Sydney appeal by Marion van der Reijden to send urgent medical supplies to the Indonesian province of Aceh.
If you can help with her appeal, phone 0412 336 090. The supplies need to be given by Thursday at 2pm.
Bellingen's Haley Tyndall, 16, has joined forces with the Bellingen Red Cross society to run a carboot sale tomorrow.
The fundraiser will be held at the Mylestom Hall from 10am to 1pm.There will also be a raffle and live music. Anyone who is able to help out should phone 6655 4661.
The Coffs Coast Advocate will take pledges until Friday. No donation is too small and all will be thankfully received. We would also like to see local businesses coming forward to do their bit for the appeal.