Starting again, with a little help

Family thankful for community support

ORIGINAL STORY:  Four flee home as fire takes hold

RELATED: Couple prepare to tackle another challenge

A YOUNG family whose Spring Gully home was destroyed by fire have been moved to tears after receiving donations from Bendigo residents to help them get back on their feet. 

Ben Dougherty helped a stranger carry couches into his new Flora Hill home and was thankful for the many donations the family had received. 

“When we opened the doors this morning we had nothing, so it’s already starting to look like a house,” Mr Dougherty said on Tuesday.

Katherine Hinton, a mother of three boys, delivered children’s books and toys for the couple’s two young boys.

“We were just doing a clean-out, so it was better to bring it here,” she said.

Mr Dougherty’s grandmother, Betty Shannon, said her grandsons were enjoying receiving so many new toys.

“I think they’re flabbergasted,” she said.

Local resident Dani Khallouf visited to give children’s toys and clothing.

“I know what it’s like to have to start all over again - I’ve been there a few times,” she said.

Ms Khallouf said word of what had happened to the family was spread on a number of Facebook pages belonging to Bendigo-based community groups.

“There was a lady who notified everyone about what happened to these people by putting the link to the Bendigo Advertiser article on the group and it just sort of flowed from there,” she said.

Mr Dougherty and partner Belinda Fowler have received money from the Department of Human Services and the Red Cross paid for three nights in a hotel and took them to Kmart to buy clothes and doonas.

“The support has been amazing. It definitely makes you think about what you’re going to donate next year when you see (volunteers collecting money) at the traffic lights,” Mr Dougherty said.

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