AFL mates dig deep
A PAIR of Aussie rules footballers from South Australia has arrived in Ipswich with $7000 and a willingness to work around the clock to help flood victims.
Abraham Helfand and Fallon Wanganeen, who both play in their local Yorke Peninsula competition, were spurred into action while watching images of the floods on television back home.
They started fundraising and calling for corporate donations, before deciding to fly up to Queensland to spend a week helping to rebuild Ipswich.
The pair paid their own expenses and plan to donate some of the money to the Ipswich Inn – where they are sleeping and working this week – and the rest directly to other flood victims.
“I was on the couch watching the flood coverage and I thought it would not be that hard to do something about it,” Mr Helfand said.
The $7000 was raised through a combination of party fundraisers, casual dress days and public appeals – for which Mr Helfand and Mr Wanganeen put up flyers and posters around their town calling on locals to show their generosity.
Originally, the pair planned to bring 15 to 20 tradesmen north with them, however none were able to get the time off work.
Arriving by plane on Monday, the pair were introduced to the owners of the flood-ravaged Ipswich Inn, a hostel at Canning Street, North Ipswich, and began work at 6am yesterday.
They plan to work 12-hour days until tomorrow, when they will return home.
“We’re just labourers doing lots of cleaning up and pulling things down – pretty much whatever we’re told to do,” Mr Helfand said.
“We’re only here a few days so we don’t care if we don’t get much sleep.
“The more we can get done the better.”
The pair are still looking for a suitable recipient for the rest of their fundraising dollars, but said they did not wish to put it into the Premier’s or local Mayor’s fund, preferring instead to donate directly to the most needy.