When Andrea Blundell took a moment to flick through the Barrier Truth while having coffee with a friend on Saturday August 12, she started reading the article, Welcome to the Hill – Family car stolen and burnt out – which left her feeling deeply saddened to think this was the welcome a family with young children received after driving 13 hours from the coast to relocate their lives to the Silver City.
Ms Blundell and husband, Irving, dropped into the Barrier Truth office this week bearing an assortment of gifts, asking us to make contact with the family so they could collect the parcels when convenient.
“My heart truly sank when I read that story about a family with young children having their car stolen and burnt out a week after they’d relocated to Broken Hill, especially the part about the little girl’s teddy being burnt, so we just wanted to let the family know that our community really does care about newcomers,” said Ms Blundell.
The couple, both Community Chaplains at Impact Church, wanted to offer a sincere apology to the family on behalf of the Broken Hill community, for the disappointing start to their new lives here.
“We’re a great town and we’re a wonderful community where everyone looks out for each other and I just thought, if that was me, I’d be saddened that I’d travelled so far to start a new life for this to happen so soon after arriving,” she said.
“These gifts come from the hearts of our church members and we all just want these new locals to know that we’re really sorry that this happened to them,” said Ms Blundell. “The gifts are just our way of offering a warmer welcome on behalf of the Broken Hill community.”
The gifts were received at the Truth’s office this week with great excitement when a pleasantly surprised mum (who asked to remain anonymous) brought along her two young children who’d had some of their favourite toys burnt in the family’s stolen car.
“This is such a heartwarming gesture,” she said as the children pulled toys out of the bags with big smiles. “I’m truly lost for words but please pass on my sincere thanks to Andrea and Irving. We’re so very grateful for the gifts and for all the well-wishes we’ve received from the community.
“We bought another car that our daughter named Queen Patsy, so we’re all settling in really well now,” said mum.
“We’ve found Broken Hill to be a warm-hearted community, with relative strangers literally handing us their phone numbers and inviting us to their family gatherings. I’ve not experienced this level of community connection anywhere else so we’re all starting to feel a real sense of belonging, which we’re so grateful for.”