News Release

Adelaide Saints Give Bushfire Relief Over the Christmas Season

Devastating December bushfires in South Australia’s mid-north affected hundreds of families and completely destroyed almost 90 properties. Adelaide members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints responded by heading to the Pinery bushfire zone on Monday 28 December to help property owners with the challenging clean up.

About 100 volunteers of all ages donned Mormon Helping Hands vests and got to work removing burnt trees and debris just as they had done last January following the Adelaide Hills bushfires.

Affecting towns and farms, the fires left massive damage in their wake. The volunteers undertook tasks ranging from pruning back bushes and chain-sawing dead trees to dismantling burnt-out sheds and outbuildings.

For Mallala fire victim Phillip Westbury, who lost his house and sheds in the fires, the extra hands for large tasks made a huge difference.

“They got an incredible amount done,” Mr Westbury said. “They got all the burnt trees down; they removed all the debris, all the metal, and the rubbish.

“They worked hard and they enjoyed it.  There were so many volunteers that some of them were able to help me get the frame up for a new shed.”

As the Mormon Helping Hands crews assisted at several sites, locals showed their appreciation by providing refreshments to keep up morale on the hot 34C day.

In the lead up to this public holiday service project, the Modbury Stake Relief Society, the women’s auxiliary of the Church, organised other practical help.

The Relief Society leaders called on Church families to donate non-perishable food items to help the bushfire-affected people, many of whom are now living in temporary accommodation.

A week after the call went out, a trailer load of donated goods was collected from the Modbury LDS meetinghouse by the St Vincent de Paul Society. ‘St Vinnies’ is the government-designated official coordinator of bushfire relief donations.

Modbury Stake President Matthew Nairn said church leaders and members would continue to look for ways to support neighbours in need.

“This Christmas has been a time of real loss for so many, and like all community-minded people and those of other faiths, if we can help in some way, we will strive to do just that,” he said.

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