Queensland farmers and brewers spread joy with random acts of kindness during record floods

Darling Downs farmers Jamie Rother and Caroline Azria are no strangers to what Mother Nature has to offer.

“Over the past few years we’ve had floods, hail, drought…just about everything,” Mr Rother said.

So when their truckload of produce destined for Brisbane markets couldn’t make it due to flooding this week, they decided it was time for a random act of kindness – in fact, 2,000 acts of random kindness.

Sunflowers brightened up the hospital.(Facebook: Saint-Vincent Hospital)

“We had 2,000 sunflower flowers earmarked for markets and we didn’t want them to go to waste, so we went to local hospitals and nursing homes and distributed them,” Mr Rother said.

He said it was the right thing to do in a disaster.

“Farmers go into farming with one goal: to clothe or feed people, and as flower growers our goal is to spread people’s joy,” Rother said.

It’s the same sentiment that inspired Stanthorpe’s Dee Davenport to load up her car with the things the Granite Belt is famous for when she drove to Brisbane to pick up her family.

“I couldn’t take an empty car knowing there were fruit and veg shortages in Brisbane,” she said.

A selfie of a woman in a car with seats full of bags
Dee Davenport loaded her car with supplies before heading to Brisbane.(Facebook: Dee Davenport)

“So I put a little message online asking what people needed and got some really good responses. I contacted some of our local stores and we were able to get a bunch of cleaning product donations , soaps and rubber gloves, things like that.”

And apples.

“Oh yeah it’s apple and grape party here this weekend, I visited Sam’s [fruit and vegetable shop] on the way, and the car was full of cleaning products, apples… and beer!”

Mrs. Davenport operates the Granite Belt Brewery and made sure to press cold brews for the Mud Army.

“I was talking to people on the streets of Graceville, and they just wanted something fresh to eat while they were cleaning up. They work really hard. So there I was walking around with apples, and they were all so grateful” , she says.

“I have received many messages about the quality of Stanthorpe apples.

A man in a hat stands near a fruit display in a store
Sam Giacca in Stanthorpe says he was more than happy to help fill a load of fruit and vegetables bound for Brisbane.(Rural ABC: Lucy Cooper)

“They have generators and little fridges, and they all got together on time, so I gave them beers.

“So even though it’s a disaster, it brings our communities together a lot, sharing food and drinks at the end of the day after a long day of cleaning.”

return the favor

Ms Davenport said she had been inspired by the help Brisbane had given her own community during the drought.

“We have accommodation at the brewery, and guests would come to visit and bring water and say ‘we won’t use your water while we’re here,'” she said.

“They would give us bottled water and say ‘we’ve brought you some extra’.

About Cassondra Durden

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