"Honestly I'm speechless at the generosity of some people."
After many sleepless nights, Donna Collins and her team at the We Care Community Shop have been able to take a big sigh of relief this week, opening their doors for the first time in months and able to pay rent for up to four months thanks to the generosity of the community.
In the last week of September, Donna asked the community to donate what they could to help keep the shop open, following a rough lockdown where they, after paying rent and utilities, were almost out of money.
Now, roughly two weeks later, Donna said the shop can remain open after donations totalled $10,800 collected from tins and generous bank deposits from people around the Mudgee region and further. Support was so widespread that one Mudgee Guardian reader in Melbourne saw the story and made a significant contribution to the shop.
"It's - a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The shop can trade now [and] we've got a few new projects in the pipeline," Donna said. "With all our bills being covered for at least the next four months, we can just focus on what we do like helping people putting putting Christmas together - like that one's really come out of the blue with lockdown going for so long."
Rachael Innes who runs Church Street's Simply Fresh takeaway said the We Care Community Shop was too important for the community to lose. The store became the first collection point for cash donations to the store.
Donna wanted to thank everybody that donated, and singled out some residents who had told her that they wished they could have donated more.
"A few people said it was such an amazing total that their $5 or $10 seemed insignificant, and I kept reassuring them. It was all the five and $10 donations that added up to the $10,800," she said.
"Never underestimate what anybody does.
"A lovely lady this morning walked in with all her silver coins in a plastic bag - God love her... It really blew me away because I was thinking, you know, if we got to $2,000 which would pay a month's rent, I'd be thrilled. We'd have been so rapt.
"I sleep again at night and I wake up feeling amazing, it was a really good reception this morning. People were really thrilled to see the shop back open. It was great.
"I'm really grateful to everybody. I don't even know - there's not enough thank yous to everybody... I never expected to get up near that amount. So it's been awesome."
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