Assisting with the flood recovery


In early May, the Institute was pleased to donate some furniture, kitchen items and bedding from the former convent building in Singleton to assist flood-impacted communities in the northern rivers region of New South Wales.

The items were donated to a volunteer run group called ‘Rebuilding NR 2022’. The group was started by local resident Natasha Shearer following the 2022 floods.


“A lot of us involved with the organisation, including myself, are flood affected in one way or another.  We collect items to help others who are flood affected including building materials, furniture, kitchen wares, clothes, shoes and cleaning materials.


Even now some people are at different stages of rebuilding. Some people are very lucky and have tradies as friends, while unfortunately some have nobody, and we are the ones that go in there and help them. There is still a great need!”.



Natasha started the group from a Facebook page, which soon linked in with others doing flood recovery in the northern rivers from Tweed Heads down to Grafton.


“None of us get paid; we are all volunteers including myself.  I’m a single mum with four kids and I lost a lot of stuff from my own business.


There are about 60 of us who volunteer. In addition to providing people with badly needed items, we also offer connection and community.


“Sadly there are many people who, fourteen months on from the last floods, feel forgotten, with their only sense of belonging coming from the group.


“We have an open-door policy and when people come in the door, they can help themselves to clothes, food and shoes. When it comes to the bigger items we allocate it, in order of what they need.


We also provide some respite for people who otherwise may be sitting at home in a damaged, mouldy house”.


The flood has understandably been a source of great anguish for many, in some cases this has been compounded by their having fallen victim to unscrupulous builders who have sought to profit from the tragedy.


“I know of some many horror stories, including one where a builder took money for repairs and knocked the walls of a person’s house out leaving them with just a shell. They have now found out that the builder didn’t need to do that”.



It comes as no surprise when Natasha says that donations are still needed. As the group is not a registered charity they are not able to receive money, only items  – all of which are passed on to the community.


“One of the really good things we need are Bunnings Vouchers as it means people can buy materials towards fixing their houses. Furniture is great too”.


Community Leader for the Institute’s Central B Community, Sister Margaret Scroope RSM, said the donation to Rebuilding NR 2022 came about following an approach to her from Sister Pat Davidson RSM.


“Pat approached me about non-heritage items that were being housed on the second floor of the Singleton Convent, which has been closed for a couple of years, and whether they could be utilised to help those in need.


“We then got thinking and approached Rebuilding NR 2022 about whether they could use them.


“Sisters Fran Stace and Pat Davidson then did the bulk of the packing, along with Sisters Marg Bray, Mary Inkston, Mrs Cynthia Mulholland and I. Hunter Coalfields Removals pitched in by moving the items at a discounted rate,” Sister Margaret said.



On the day we did this interview, Natasha Shearer from Rebuilding NR 2022 was unpacking the boxes provided by the Institute with a keen eye as to who should get what.


“We have a place on our website where people can request what they need. This is why we are able to get things out so quickly.


“With the pots the Sisters donated they have gone to a men’s flood recovery group in Murwullimbah, which is made up of elderly men who wish to start doing cooking for the community.


“I ensure that nothing goes to waste. I want it to go everywhere not just anywhere. Everything that comes in just doesn’t go to one town as there are people in need all over the region.


One of the items the Institute donated was a soup ladle.


“You have made one of the lady’s days, she has literally nothing at home, she has finally got a house after eight months of camping and she has been waiting for some cutlery and she is very excited to receive your soup ladle.


“It’s the little things – you have made her day!”.


To find out more visit –


Click here to return to Just Mercy