Redbank Plains mum Shelley Burge.
Redbank Plains mum Shelley Burge.

Local mum’s unexpected reaction to bin divers

WHEN Redbank Plains mum Shelley Burge saw a woman going through her bin, she admits it was confronting.

"The other week, my daughter looked out the front door and saw a lady going through our bin," she said.

"It was quite - I don't know - almost a bit invasive. But then I thought, you know what, she's obviously just looking for some bottles and she must be doing it tough."

Mrs Burge left the mum to it, but when she noticed her again the next week on a non-recycling week, she knew she had to act.

"And when I saw a little boy holding the bag, I thought 'I'm going out there to see what they need'," she said.

"When I went to speak to her, she couldn't speak English, so I asked the little boy if they were looking for bottles and he said yes. I told him I could get some food for them and he said that would be very good."

Mrs Burge collected some items from Westside Community Care and delivered them to the family later that day, and was shocked by what she found.

"They had nothing. They had the basics - and I didn't want to pry - but there were just bits and pieces. It just broke my heart. We don't know how good we've got it," she said.

"I just got some things for them and I hope to do that for them each week now."

With reports of people bin diving across the south-west, Mrs Burge urged people to consider their reasons for doing it.

"It's not something nice. God has given us everything we need in this world. It's up to us to share it," she said.

"I came home after visiting those people and I just thought 'oh my goodness, we are spoiled'. It just made me think I could give so much of this away - we don't need it - when you see people who have nothing."

Mrs Burge said the experience was an eye opener to the family that lived close by and had so little.

"They're very humble. People in that situation are embarrassed to accept help," she said.

She said she'd already received offers of donations from others to help the family, and she urged anyone else who wanted to help to contact Westside Community Care with cash donations or pantry staples that could be used to make up their Christmas hampers for the needy.

"I'll certainly keep checking in on them," she said.

"I just want people to understand that these people deserve kindness just like we all do."