'We were all in tears': Mum reveals Woolworths store's touching act after bushfire tragedy

Josh Dutton
·News Reporter

A NSW mum has revealed an “overwhelming” display of kindness from Woolworths after losing her home in the devastating bushfires which have hit the state.

Mum of two Anna Lawrence lost her home in Willawarrin on the NSW Mid North Coast last week in bushfires, according to a GoFundMe page.

Ms Lawrence’s home was one of more than 303 homes destroyed in NSW.

“Unfortunately, they didn’t save any of their possessions and only got out with the clothes on their backs,” the GoFundMe page reads.

Ms Lawrence and her two kids Kaela, 10, and Cal, 8, have since moved to a rental property in nearby Kempsey.

Anna Lawrence pictured in Woolworths with a trolley full of groceries. Also pictured is her daughter Kaela, 10, and two Woolworths staff members.
Anna Lawrence was moved to tears when Woolworths staff helped her with her groceries. She's pictured with her daughter Kaela, 10, (left) and three staff members. Source: Facebook/ Anna Lawrence

On Saturday, she went to the Woolworths at Kempsey and had to get everything including the “bare essentials”.

In total, she had $700 worth of items.

“As we got to the checkout the woman behind the counter went to the manager to try and get $100 off our groceries,” Ms Lawrence told Yahoo News Australia.

“The manager then came down to speak with us.”

Ms Lawrence said Woolies then offered to pay for all her groceries, reducing her to tears.

“It was really overwhelming,” she said.

“We were all in tears. It was so nice of them.”

A burnt down home in Willwarrin is pictured.
Ms Lawrence's home was destroyed by bushfires. Source: Facebook/ Anna Lawrence

The mum shared her experience on Facebook.

“I am truly touched and forever grateful,” she wrote.

“After losing our home and all our possessions to the bush fires in Willawarrin last week, this has been an extremely challenging time for us.”

“You have no idea how much your help has meant to us. Words are really hard to express it.

“You took generosity and kindness to an uncommon level today with surprising us by paying for our first shop for our new home. We’re so grateful for your support.”

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia in a statement, “it’s important for local communities to rally together in response to the devastating bushfires”.

“We’re delighted our Kempsey store was able to provide a helping hand in this time of need,” the spokesperson said.

A burnt down home in Willawarrin.
Ms Lawrence has since moved to a rental property in Kempsey. Source: Facebook/ Anna Lawrence
Anna Lawrence pictured with son Cal, 8, and daughter Kaela, 10.
The mum Lawrence her kids Cal, 8, and Kaela, 10. Source: Facebook/ Anna Lawrence

Woolworths praised for another act of generosity

Meanwhile a Woolworths and BWS in Sydney’s northwest have been praised for donating water to the Hawkesbury Fire Control Centre.

Melanie Storrie wrote on Facebook she asked Woolies at Glenorie, northwest of the Sydney CBD, if they would be willing to help firies and communities impacted by the Gospers Mountain Fire.

“When I asked if they’d be happy to help, they said they’d give me as much as I could fit in my car which turned out to be 45 slabs,” she wrote.

Slabs of water bottles pictured.
Woolworths donated 45 slabs of water to help firefighters. Source: Facebook/ Melanie Storrie

She added the generosity of the manager at Glenorie was “overwhelming”.

In a response to the post, Woolworths said it’s “glad” to hear the Glenorie team was able to help and support “our incredible firefighters and emergency services personnel”.

“We'll be sure to share your thoughts with our Glenorie Store Management Team so those involved receive the recognition they deserve,” Woolworths wrote.

- with AAP

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