Gembrook’s spark in the dark

Helen and Kelly from Gembrook IGA making coffees for residents seeking warmth and company during power outages on Wednesday 3 August. PICTURES: SUPPLIED

By Tyler Wright

Community spirit has shone through with a local business stepping up to offer help to people affected by power outages following a storm on Tuesday night.

True to his name, Gembrook IGA owner Andrew Spark supplied residents with free power access, as well as hot tea and coffee, during the power outage on Wednesday 3 August.

Over 1000 residents in Gembrook were without power for most of the day.

“We made maybe 30 coffees [on Wednesday for] locals, and people and came in…some people offered to pay, I said ‘no no, I don’t want your money’,” Mr Spark said.

“We don’t normally make sandwiches because there’s a bakery in town; but because they were shut as well, we’ve been making sandwiches and put some pies in our chicken warmer; that’s been well received as well,” Mr Spark said.

A large powerpoint outlet sat at the front of the store where locals and businesses were able to charge their devices.

“We’ve just done extra things that we don’t normally do, because the businesses that do normally do that that haven’t been able to open today, because they’ve not had any power; they haven’t got generators where I’ve got a big generator that runs my whole store,” Mr Spark said.

While locals in the Dandenong Ranges may be accustomed to losing power and gas heating being cut off, Mr Spark is always happy to lend the community a helping hand.

“It’s about looking after those who need something, rather than charging them for it.”

Power was restored to most homes around 4pm on Wednesday, however a few residents are still in the dark on Thursday 4 August, according to AusNet.