Acts of kindness shine bright in a dark time


Karlie Brady


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Mark Fraenkel and Leanne Phillips have created a committee to get essentials to people in need. Image: Karlie Brady
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It’s easy to feel helpless when facing such uncertain times but acts of kindness are popping up all over the Douglas Shire, proving humanity can sometimes shine at its brightest in the face of a crisis.

One group of residents from the Port Douglas Reef Resort are doing what they can to help out during the coronavirus pandemic and are hoping others in the community will jump on board.

When Leanne Phillips witnessed a frail elderly couple struggling to get their groceries amongst the crowds of panic buyers it really unsettled her, and she set out to do something about it.

Ms Phillips posted about her want to help others like this on Facebook, a fellow resident at the Reef Resort, Mark Fraenkel, jumped got in contact and together they created a resilience group, which is growing in numbers, to help people who can’t go out and get essentials during this time.

Mr Fraenkel said those most at risk from coronavirus like those with medical conditions and the elderly, are likely to be feeling fairly vulnerable at the present time.

“A few residents here at the Reef Resort have got together to see what we can do to keep our community together at an obviously tough time,” Mr Fraenkel said.

“This means if you are aged or infirm and fearful of leaving home, we are happy to either arrange shopping visits or shop on your behalf. We can also arrange prescription pick-ups from local pharmacies.”

This also extends to those who are having to self-isolate and need help.

“We need to get prepared; we don’t have that much need right now but that can change very quickly, and we would like to get people across the area to get involved.

“Please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will help how we can,” he said.

To get in touch with the resilience group send an email to reservationsreefresortportdouglas.comau 

The acts of kindness don’t stop there. When Peter and Lisa Scomazzon from Newell Beach Takeaway heard that a group in the Mossman Gorge Community had run out of toilet paper, they endeavoured to help out.

Mr Scomazzon said they didn’t have any toilet paper to share themselves, so he rang around to find some.

“I rang the General Manager of the Sheraton and said these people need our help and they were more than happy to donate some,” he said.

The Sheraton Grand Mirage Resort Port Douglas donated around 50 toilet paper rolls to the Mossman Gorge Community.

“We picked it up and passed it on,” Mr Scomazzon said.

The Scomazzons didn’t stop there though, when they saw the huge lines outside Centrelink earlier this week, filled with people who had lost their jobs due to business shutdowns from COVID-19, they could not just drive past.

“We were going past and we saw the line of people standing out in the sun, so we went to Woollies and brought some slabs of water and handed them out,” Mr Scomazzon said.

The Scomazzons returned multiple times over the past week to help, with Woolworths eventually jumping on board to donate the bottled water.

“I think at the end of the day people are in a situation that they never dreamed off.

“I would like to hire every one of them if I could, but I’ve only got a small business so if all I can do is give them some water and encouragement then I will.

“People need to know that other people do care and you are not alone. We will bounce back as a community if we all look out for each other,” Mr Scomazzon said.

Floral Edge Florist in Port Douglas is also spreading the love.

Owner Candice Johnson said last week she had a heap of leftover flowers that she would hate to see go to waste so Floral Edge decided to gift them to businesses around town to brighten up people’s days.

“We are still open and are doing free delivery, but we will have excess flowers left over, so if you know someone doing it tough get in touch with us and we can deliver flowers to them and spread a little happiness,” she said.

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