By Sheree Hoddinett
When it comes to helping others in the community, Mark Scott doesn’t even think twice. As the founder of ‘Good People’, a community group which focuses on helping those experiencing a tough time in their lives get back on their feet, Mark and his wife Janice are people with great big hearts. ‘Good People’ collect donations from the wider community and ensure they go to those who truly need it. For this selfless group, which is run entirely by volunteers and based here on the Island, everything they do is only for the benefit of others across the region and beyond.
For Mark, his foray into the world of helping others stems back to his childhood with his own mum. A rough period in his teens while living in New Zealand resulted in a wake-up call that turned Mark’s life around and saw him move across the ditch to Australia. It’s his own life experiences that have created the humble but empathetic person you see today.
“You have to go through things to have an empathetic heart, it’s that simple,” Mark said. “If you haven’t been broken yourself, you can’t feel other people who are broken and that’s where I come from. Because of what I have been through, I’ve had the opportunity to turn my life around.”
Rescuing a woman from a domestic violence situation, helping a family refurnish a home after losing everything to floods or providing a few meals for those who can’t afford them is just some of what Mark and the team at ‘Good People’ do. Although having to scale back due to his own mental health, Mark sees it all as an important part of his life and part of his ‘sincere duty’ to ensure others have the help they need.
“If a woman rings me right now, I’ll go to her instantly, because the Police and community shelters can’t do things instantly,” he said. “We’re able to make things happen straight away and we can help any time of the day. When you see someone broken, beaten up, and down and out with no food and nothing to their name, you realise the importance and you help them. The people we deal with are very grateful and appreciate what we do. We give them hope and love.”
With thousands of stories behind him, there’s many that have moved him in some way, but Mark also uses songs in difficult situations. He talks about a recent rescue where the woman couldn’t bring herself to leave. Mark sang to her, and she was able to get up and leave, telling him it was her mother’s favourite song.
“I’m actually doing a recording soon,” Mark said. “I use songs to make a difference. I do weird and random stuff, but it works. The stories are what drives me. You have to make your own story. We live in a very selfish world now. I’ve never met anyone who rescues like I do, but it’s just what I do.”
Behind the scenes of ‘Good People’, Mark’s partner in crime, Chloe, is also busy making things happen. Recognising the generosity of the community, Chloe loves that everyone is so giving but wants to share a simple message with everyone.
“People are giving out of the goodness of their heart, and we appreciate that people have a heart to give,” she said. “People think because we’re a charity we can just do everything instantly. But it’s all volunteers, giving their time. We’re not a big machine that’s constantly turning over all the time. I’d love to get out to the community, that we’re only a small group and we appreciate everything you all do with donations but please forgive us if we’re not able to come to you straight away. We can all make a difference out there. Life would be better for everyone if we all did a little bit, not just us but just life in general, it would make a massive difference out there in the world.”
So why the name ‘Good People’? It came from Chloe and a few of the volunteers brainstorming.
“It was just as the name suggests, good people helping good people,” Chloe said. “We didn’t want to put ourselves on a pedestal, we just wanted to be the same because that’s what it is, community helping community. There are good people out there.”
Donations for this community group come from as far away as Gympie, Toowoomba, the Gold Coast and everywhere in between. They don’t advertise or ask anyone to contribute. It’s all through word-of-mouth and generosity from the kindness of others. A group of 12 volunteers also contribute home cooked meals which are then frozen and given out to families who need them. If there was ever any doubt about the impact this group is having, here’s an example from a lady who reached out to ‘Good People’ after being referred by another local.
“This is not easy for me to write. I don’t know what to do or where to turn. We have no food, we have bills, we have no petrol.”
Without going in to too much detail and in order to protect this family, ‘Good People’ immediately went around and delivered home cooked food for them. They then received the following message from this lady.
“Thank you so much. My children and I appreciate it so much. Thank you for giving us dinner for the next couple of nights.”
While they have an amazing team of volunteers and donations aplenty, there’s one thing ‘Good People’ is short of. A base camp to store items before they are passed on to those who need them. They would love to hear from you if you can help in some way with this!
If you would like to reach out to ‘Good People’, please contact them on 0448 751 279.