Over the last six years, many much-needed items have been distributed to remote and regional Communities by the Dr Steve Burroughs Foundation. And now books from ILF’s Book Supply program are reaching families too.
Since its inception the foundation, based in Canberra, has responded to appeals for assistance from some 150 Communities, mostly in the Northern Territory, Far North Queensland and the Kimberley where Dr Steve Burroughs has extensive and longstanding connections from his decades of working in these regions.
Donations of clothing, household goods such as sheets and towels, and hygiene items, mostly donated by large retail corporations, as well as wheelchairs and hospital beds for the sick, elderly and infirm, have been freighted to people who need them.
The onset of the COVID pandemic, however, made for many restrictions to the work the foundation could do. So more recently it has focused on working with several Communities in NSW and Central Queensland, including Cobar, Lightning Ridge, Peak Hill, Gilgandra, Barcaldine, Yarrabah amd Cherbourg.
Drawing on its supply of books from ILF’s Books 4 Babies, Books 4 Kids and Books 4 Big Kids packs, the Dr Steve Burroughs Foundation had hoped to hand out kids’ gift bags during the 2022 NAIDOC Week celebrations.
“We try to distribute the books to as many Communities as possible across the country.”
But unfortunately COVID once again brought about the cancellation of plans in some places the foundation had hoped to reach.
So at the end of 2022, it distributed gift bags to families in Peak Hill, NSW where the Community was really “feeling the isolation” as a result of the extensive flooding that had occurred in the region. Some 140 gift bags for kids arrived in the flood-weary town, each of which included an ILF book.
“These bags are aimed at mothers with newborn to 18 month old babies and mothers with babies in the two to four year age group,” explains Steve.
Any books left over from the packs were sent to families in Lightning Ridge.
“[We are] hoping to encourage young mothers and fathers to read to their children or help the children to see the books and develop from a very young age that books are part of the learning process."
The foundation currently has plans to extend its work. Already items from donors are being gathered to go into this year’s giveaway bags, ready for distribution.
“We are hoping to expand the giveaway bags to the six to 10 year olds and then 11 through to 16 years.”
Steve reports that the books are much appreciated by all the families who receive them.
“Every Community will say, ‘No one has ever come and helped us like this.’”