HELPING HANDS: Carmen Evans, Shianne Butler and Liz Harvey make up the beating heart of Helping Hands in Dalby.
HELPING HANDS: Carmen Evans, Shianne Butler and Liz Harvey make up the beating heart of Helping Hands in Dalby.

How a roll of toilet paper helps domestic violence victims

IT'S not hard to take something as little as an extra jumper or three meals a day for granted every day.

But some families in Dalby are facing a reality where the little things that most other families take for granted are not so easy to come by.

The women behind Dalby charity, the Helping Hands Project, are working to make the lives of struggling families a little easier with something as little as a roll of toilet paper.

The beating heart of Helping Hands comes from three selfless Dalby women: Carmen Evans, Liz Harvey, and Shianne Butler.

Having come from South Africa and arriving in Dalby eight years ago, Helping Hands manager Ms Evans spotted a niche in the community where families in need were going without basic necessities.

Ms Evans just couldn't take a back seat.

From starting in a garage to setting up shop on Loam St, the faces behind Helping Hands have worked to not only provide food, clothing, entertainment to families in need but have worked hard to put a smile on the faces of the families they assist, aside from the material necessities.

Born and bred in Dalby, public relations manager Ms Harvey visited Helping Hands three years ago, and made the decision to assist in whatever way she could.

From volunteering one day a week three years ago to a permanent position with the charity, Ms Harvey said there was nothing better than giving time and attention to families in need.

"It's very heartwarming to help people, and it's very sad also to see the struggle in town," she said.

"It has opened my eyes up to what has become of the community. I'm very happy with how the community does rally together too.

"I just love the feel of helping people."

Rounding out the team at Helping Hands is assistant manager Shianne Butler, whose dedication to the cause is something to be admired, according to Ms Harvey and Ms Evans.

 

HELPING HANDS: Carmen Evans, Shianne Butler and Liz Harvey make up the beating heart of Helping Hands in Dalby.
HELPING HANDS: Carmen Evans, Shianne Butler and Liz Harvey make up the beating heart of Helping Hands in Dalby.

 

Having worked with Helping Hands for two years and living in Dalby for eight years, Ms Butler loves the way the community comes together to assist someone in need.

What sets Helping Hands apart is their constant communication and availability with the families they help.

"We are accessible 24/7 with our Facebook pages, so it's not just office hours," Ms Evans said.

"People can get in contact with us when there is an actual need, and not wait 'til Monday morning when the office opens which makes a big difference if you're a domestic violence victim."

The team at Helping Hands have gone out of their way to cater to every possible need a family could require.

"We don't just concentrate on one or two areas, we actually cover everything you would need if you were in that situation," Ms Evans said.

"Our services range from emergency food boxes, which are completely free of charge, clothing, linen, baby items, kitchen items, school clothes, and formal wear, as well as the yearly Christmas drive."

While their job comes with it's downsides, seeing firsthand and experiencing the pain of families in need, the rewards always outweigh the sadness.

"Seeing a family walk out with more clothes on their back than they started with and food on the table, stuff like that, is really rewarding," Ms Harvey said.

"If you can get that laugh, and get them to smile instead of cry, that's really heartwarming."

"One of the nicest moments is when you have a mum burst out in tears because you've put a roll of toilet paper in their box," Ms Evans said.

"Something simple as that."

The Helping Hands facility is located at 4 Loam St, and are open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10am-2pm.