Charles Darwin University Education lecturer Dr Gavin Morris couldn’t believe his eyes when he opened his door to 100 kilograms of brand-new shoes and clothing.
Dr Morris and Northern Institute Partnerships Coordinator Katrina Britnell had put out a call for donations of shoes to help the Daly River community in the Northern Territory’s western Top End.
The Top End has had an unusually good wet season, but the inundation has left the small riverside community in flood.
CDU colleagues and Darwin people rallied and donated 200 pairs of shoes in just a few weeks but finding the mystery donor of two pallets of sports shoes and clothes took some detective work.
It turns out the shipment had come to the NT through three different carriers.
“Eventually we tracked the donor down – it was the Melbourne Sports Institute,” Dr Morris said.
“It was such a surprise and we’re really grateful to be able to send shoes, socks and shirts out to the community.”
Melbourne Sports Institute Director Neville Braver said an employee had heard about the call for shoes and organised the donation from sports suppliers.
“We are happy to help – to enable students to enjoy their sport and socialise,” Mr Braver said.
The institute focuses on youth sport development with values of fair play, sportsmanship, team unity and morale.
Senior Australian of the Year Dr Miriam Rose Ungunmerr-Baumann lives at Daly River and called in to collect some of the donations while in Darwin.
She was amazed and delighted with the generosity of Darwin people and the Melbourne Sports Institute.
“Some of our young ones play for the football clubs in Darwin, and they need football boots too,” Dr Ungunmerr-Baumann said.
“I take kids out on cultural education in and around Daly River – so the school will happily take shoes for them.
“I can get them to bring them back to me after they’ve worn them and then when they go to the city for excursions, they’ll have good shoes to wear.”