When Big Rigs recently posted a story online about a preschool teacher looking for a way to get two pallets of donated thongs to Kununurra in the Kimberley, Scarcella Transport quickly answered the call.
Kirsten Goldsmith is moving from Billinudgel to the Kimberley next year to teach in a remote community. When she asked if there was anything she could bring with her, she was surprised to hear there was a need for thongs.
“One of the issues they have is children getting hookworm, which is super preventable just by wearing thongs,” she said.
Cody Eichhorn, operations manager at Sydney-based Scarcella Transport, coordinated for the pallets of thongs to be picked up from the Northern Rivers town of Billinudgel in NSW and brought to the Sydney depot, some eight hours away.
As luck would have it, his brother Harley Cairns, who runs Harley Interstate Haulage and subcontracts to Scarcella, was on a return leg from Brisbane to Sydney when Eichhorn chatted with Big Rigs – so Harley swung by Goldsmith’s house to pick them up.
“There’s not that many people that service these very remote communities, so Scarcella Transport likes to help wherever we can. We’re not just there for a money grab, we’re there to provide a service to the community too,” said Eichhorn.
The thongs will be put onto one of Scarcella’s triple road trains and make the 4000km journey from Sydney to Darwin. Then Mclean Enterprises will transport them for the 830km leg from Darwin to Kununurra.
“Harley and Kirsten broke the pallets down and hand-loaded them onto the truck. We’ve restacked them in our yard and they’ll be shrink wrapped. We’ll be looking to send them out to Darwin on Friday night and are hoping they’ll arrive in Kununurra before the end of next week,” Eichhorn explained.
Goldsmith was able to collect over 2000 pairs of thongs after putting a call out on social media, which received an overwhelming response.
“Hookworm is actually more prevalent than you would think. It just takes having a tiny nip in your foot for them to come in – and once you have it, it can be hard to diagnose,” she said.
“Not wearing shoes can be quite a cultural thing. Some don’t love wearing shoes because of the connection with the earth, so it’s about changing the mindset and keeping yourself healthy and safe too.”
When Big Rigs called Goldsmith to tell her the news that Scarcella Transport had offered to take the thongs all the way to their destination, she was thrilled.
“I am so unbelievably thankful to Scarcella for their generosity. They have absolutely gone above and beyond to help out with this cause. It’s been so amazing seeing the community band together to help – whether it was donating thongs, collecting them, sharing the story and now getting them delivered,” she said.
“These generous individuals have helped to change children’s lives, protecting their health and helping to educate them on their wellbeing for the future.
“And thank you so much to Big Rigs for the exposure of this story. This wouldn’t have happened without your help.”