Community kindness emerges throughout Broome amid COVID-19 restrictions

Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Broome community bear hunt.
Camera IconBroome community bear hunt.

What started as a fleeting idea within a mothers’ group has grown into a town-wide initiative inspired by a beloved children’s book.

Residents in Roebuck Estate, Broome North and Cable Beach have been leaving stuffed animals outside their homes to enable children to go on the Broome Bear Hunt and Sidewalk Trail, all while maintaining social distance measures.

The measure, started by local mum and teacher Sarah Godecke on Facebook, is among the growing list of acts of community kindness that have emerged in the Kimberley town amid the coronavirus crisis.

Ms Godecke said the idea of holding a bear hunt in Broome came about after hearing about similar events in Scotland from a relative.

“Even in our mothers’ group the boys are known for going on crab hunts and other things like that, so I initially floated the idea within the group and suggested we should try and get the whole community involved rather than just having nine or 10 houses the kids could go to,” she said.

“I just started the Facebook group to see if people would be interested, and it just went gangbusters.

“It certainly feels good that kids are getting out and about going on bear hunts, but what I found after talking to other parents is that it has really allowed them to have a reason to get out and go for a walk after being cooped up in their homes all day.

“Of course, you’re keeping your distance when there are others out, but it gives you the opportunity to keep that social connection.”

And while a ban on public gatherings is ruining birthday plans for some, the spirit of the Broome community has helped ensure one young boy had a party he would never forget.

Dylan Grogan and Michele O’Connor, pictured, wanted to make sure their son Harrison was still able to celebrate his third birthday despite not being able to hold a traditional party.

The family set up shop on their driveway with some balloons and cake and alerted the public on Facebook, before people started driving past to wish Harrison a happy birthday.

Mr Grogan told the Broome Advertiser his partner Michele got the idea of holding a drive-by birthday party after seeing stories of other families holding them on the news.

“Both Michele and I work in the disability sector and we were very conscious of self-isolating to keep the most vulnerable people in the State safe,” he said. “We’re a bit shy on social media but we bit the bullet and posted in the Broome Noticeboard.

“We had a really great response, which was a really nice thing to see within the community in this tough time.

“We had quite a few cars drive past, including a ranger and a young dude that came out in a science suit with his dad.

“It was really quite heartwarming to see that response from the community.” Domino’s Broome has also started to give back to workers fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic by starting its very own Feeding the Frontline initiative.

The team has been delivering free pizzas to local healthcare workers, including St John Ambulance, the Department of Communities, and mental health workers.

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