Warwick nurse picks up pieces of drought-stricken community
AS SOUTHERN Downs residents tread water to keep finances afloat during drought, a little campervan is rolling out to remind them their bank balance is not a reflection of their worth.
From a young age, Warwick nurse Catherine Cazaly was taught everyone was equal, but some people are just hit harder than others.
Home-cooked Christmas lunches were shared around a dining table of lonely and grateful strangers, while days off meant picking up a mop to help those who were unable to clean for themselves.
"That's just how my mum and dad raised me,” she said.
"Everyone is important.
"Everyone has something they can offer.”
As she grew older and began working at Warwick Hospital, Mrs Cazaly saw more people becoming lost in the cracks.
"Patients would come in with a health concern and after we investigated their complaints it would turn out they just didn't have somewhere to stay that night,” she said.
"Lots of people in Warwick don't have a home, or they're in between places, or they're having problems with their parents.
"They just need a warm bed and a meal.”
Those experiences planted the seed for Frankie the Warwick Community Van, which will be setting up shop in Leslie Park this weekend.
The opening comes after two years of brainstorming and fundraising.
The Seventh-Day Adventist church-run van will offer free, freshly cooked meals and basic hygiene and clothing items for any resident who could use a hand or a bit of a chat.
"Anyone can come along,” Mrs Cazaly said.
"We don't mind if you're just a lonely pensioner or if you're homeless or if you're just struggling to make it through to the next pay day.”
Tables and chairs will be set up to recreate a food market vibe, in hopes of banishing any stigma.
"We just want to give people something for nothing and just feed them with love,” Mrs Cazaly said.
The Warwick Community Van will be at Leslie Park on Sunday, August 4 from 4 to 9pm. To RSVP or volunteer please call 0409 894 908 by Thursday, August 1.