Sylvia Statesbury in her front room, destroyed by floods.
The people in Mountmellick have raised almost €8,500 through various fundraisers for people whose homes have been destroyed by the recent flooding that devastated the town on November 22.
Exactly two weeks ago today, a river of water flowed through homes, business and the streets of the town causing devastating damage.
Almost 70 people applied for Humanitarian Aid in the days after the flood and the fundraising from the local community kicked into action almost immediately.
On November 30, an official voluntary committee was formed in order to organise and take control of the donations and helping people who had been affected.
This group of ten dedicated people have taken it upon themselves to consult with the public in order to inform them of both statutory and voluntary flooding supports available to them.
An online donation platform raised €2,090 in 24 hours. An open mic fundraising night raised €500 and the owners of Turley's Pub in Mountmellick matched this amount bringing the total donation from that night to €1,000.
Watchorne's Londis, Sean Connolly Meats and Mountmellick athletes, Colette Crofton and Noel Coss organised a 5K Family Fun Run/Walk raising €2,000.
The Mountmellick Flood Community Support voluntary group issued the following message of thanks after a huge personal donation was made.
"Big thank you to a yet to be disclosed and unbelievably kind Moutmellick emigrant for an amazing personal donation of $4,000.
"We want to express our deep gratitude to the people of Mountmellick and Laois who have supported us and therefore those currently most vulnerable in our town so far. Your kindness has been overwhelming. We’d like to give a special mention to those Mountmellick and Laois emigrants who have shown that their hearts are still very much connected to their hometown. You are all an example of true community," it said.
This brings the total number of donations to €8,472.
A decision was made by the voluntary group that in order to fairly distribute any funds raised for Mountmellick flood victims is to establish a standard payment based on each house and its occupants and irrespective of financial means or insurance.
"As a voluntary body we are not in the position to means test community members and feel even attempting this would be invasive. That said, depending on the tally of eventual funds raised, we may be in the position to give extra support to those who are most in need.
"It is our intention to have the above mentioned standard payments drawn down and presented to qualified community members before Christmas. (You qualify if your home has been flooded)
"We ask that all community members (or neighbours or friends who are in the position to inform us) who have had their homes flooded, contact us so that we can offer you support.
"You can do this by calling any of the numbers above or by messaging our Facebook page privately. Please note your privacy is very important to us so your case will be dealt with discreetly," the group said in its recent newsletter," it stated.
More fundraisers are currently being organised.
Any money raised from the little black dress night that was originally planned for The Ben and Jake Connolly Trust will now be donated to Mountmellick Flood Community Support.
The Connolly family and the trustees of The Ben and Jake Trust wanted to give back to the community that has supported them.
The little black dress fundraiser night will take place on Sunday, December 9 at The Mellick Inn, Mountmellick. Tickets are €10 available from O'Horain's Shop, O'Gorman's newsagent and Kristine in World of Sparkle.
There will be a red carpet entrance, spot prizes and goodie bags on the night.
Bank of Ireland in Mountmellick is holding an in-store raffle to raise funds for Mountmellick flood victims and a number of other businesses are holding collections and raffles.
Cormac Melia of Sudz Valeting Service, Adrian & Lynsey Doheny of Midlands Painting and Renovations, Darcy And Son Window Cleaning , Stewarts Delivery Service, Speedy Motors, Sean Connolly Dairy Products have all helped the flood support committee in some way.
If anyone wants to hold a fundraiser for the Mountmellick flood support group, it is requested that you let the voluntary body know about it so that it can inform the community of the legitimacy and track any funds being raised.
It is important to note that no door to door or street collections for monetary donations have been passed by the committee or An Garda Síochána.