A SIMPLE care package compiled by a five-year-old Toowoomba girl has left a lasting impression on a Victorian couple who survived the Black Saturday bushfire.
Toowoomba grandmother Pam Blunt said her granddaughter Lily Nicholson, now 10, was so moved by news reports of the devastation caused in the February 2009 blaze she had to do something to help.
So they went shopping for Lily to choose band-aids, soap and other basic toiletries to be sent to people who had lost everything.
"I rang the number given for donations, where the representative kindly advised that perhaps the Salvation Army may be able to handle a single box as opposed to a financial donation," Mrs Blunt said.
"The Salvos took up the challenge and gave me an address to send the box."
The significance of that package and the accompanying letter was not lost on former Marysville residents Killian and Robyn Fitzpatrick.
They received the box while recovering from losing their home to the deadly blaze.
Mr Fitzpatrick yesterday spoke with Mrs Blunt for the first time after initiating a search through The Chronicle. He was glad to be able to have a chance to thank the child who had shown compassion for complete strangers.
"We just thought something like that was so special," Mr Fitzpatrick said. "It has an impact far beyond what you might think."
The Fitzpatricks now live in Yackandandah in north-east Victoria.
He said getting in contact with Lily's family gave him some solace ahead of Friday's five-year anniversary of the fire which killed 173 people and destroyed 2100 homes.
Lily moved with her mother from Toowoomba to Brisbane a little more than a year ago but her grandmother has always kept a certificate of appreciation sent to her by the Salvation Army.
"I have often wondered how the people who received the box are, and could only hope that they have been able to rebuild their lives since such devastation," Mrs Blunt said.