Heartfelt loan of a home
IRONICALLY, it was just 13 days from when Lennox Head local Caroline Meehan launched the website for her new charity Heartfelt Homes that she became in need of its services herself.
After launching the website on December 6, Ms Meehan's husband, Andy Newton, received the diagnosis of a small cancerous lump on his neck on December 19.
The diagnosis would mean Caroline, Andy, and their two children, Kitty Bo, 2, and Banjo, 3, would be travelling backwards and forwards from Brisbane to receive treatment.
The experience has been a sharp learning curve for Ms Meehan, who is discovering just how quickly the expenses can add up with accommodation, petrol, parking fees and food, on top of an ongoing mortgage and bills to pay back home.
With the financial pressures families affected by medical illness or natural disasters face, the Heartfelt Homes charity was established to provide a platform that connects people who are in need of urgent accommodation with those who are able to provide it.
Initially driven by a friend's similar circumstances, Ms Meehan began months and months of research into existing services and disaster relief, before filling out the mounds of paper work required to set up the charity.
Donations can be anything from caravans to granny flats, bedrooms, apartments, homes or financial contributions.
"There's no limit on what you can donate, it's just when you need a roof over your head then anything will do," Ms Meehan said.
This year, Ms Meehan said the charity will look at getting commercial accommodation and hotel chains on board and partnerships with charity organisations such as Little Wings and Ronald McDonald house.