When Jenny Jones’s home was gutted in a house fire 13 years ago, the community rallied to help her buy essentials for her young family like underwear, toiletries and nappies.
Now she’s urging the Illawarra community to get behind a benefit night she is helping organise at Dapto Leagues Club on November 1 for those who have lost everything in bushfires in the Blue Mountains.
Along with her close friend, former X Factor contestant Rohan Herring, Mrs Jones has enlisted the support of a range of community members and businesses to put on a variety night.
All proceeds will go to Winmalee High School to be distributed among the 50 students – and their families – who lost their homes in the recent fires.
‘‘We lost everything we owned in a house fire 13 years ago – we literally had nothing left but the clothes on our backs,’’ Mrs Jones said.
‘‘We lost a lot of irreplaceable things like photographs and gifts, but it’s often the smaller, more insignificant things that pose an immediate problem.
‘‘For instance our three girls were only one, five and six years old at the time and we didn’t have any nappies, dummies, underwear, toothpaste or anything.
‘‘Fortunately our local community [at Campbelltown] got together and raised $1000 for us so we had cash just to buy those essentials to get us through.’’
Mrs Jones has since moved to the Illawarra and now runs Danze Gallery at Albion Park Rail. She’s been involved in fund-raisers for various causes, including the Queensland floods and the Cancer Council.
‘‘The Illawarra is a great community and they really pull together in times of need and do what they can – you only need to look at events like Relay for Life and Convoy to see how much community spirit there is here,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m hoping that the community will get behind this benefit night, which will directly benefit the students and families from Winmalee High School who lost their homes and everything they owned.’’
The benefit night will feature song and dance from a range of performers including Herring, Trent Bowater, Danny Benn and Rory Chatterton. Doors open at 7pm and tickets at $25 each are available by contacting Mrs Jones on 0423241774.
As well as the charity event, Mrs Jones has rallied community members who have donated a range of household items and clothing.