By Sally McGlew
FOR Gidgegannup Pastor in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, Loren Pratt, the recent bushfires held a saltatory lesson about living in the bush.
He lost part of his property in the firestorm that overtook Gidgegannup in early February.
“It went around us, I thought we were gone for sure,” he said.
“We weren’t prepared, I had not prepared for bushfire and now I know I need to have these preparations in hand.
“When we checked the DFES site after evacuating it showed the house was gone, but when we got to the site later the house had survived.”
Mr Pratt said the trauma of the devastating bushfires had impacted a lot of people’s lives, families and communities.
Mr Pratt’s 12-year-old son Addison refused to evacuate without the family’s pet sheep.
“Levi was a lamb but he’s fully grown now, needless to say it was a bit crowded in the car with the kids, my wife and the sheep.”
So far, the fires have not slowed down Mr Pratt’s work locally.
The Pratt Family moved from Victoria 10 months ago to the City of Swan and he has already had a remarkable impact through his work setting up Midland Meals.
The charity feeds homeless people every evening at 6pm at two sites, Ellenbrook and Midland and Mr Pratt is considering a future third site in Ballajura.
He said he was fortunate not to lose any of the seven fridges and three freezers that he uses to store the meals.
“At the moment I don’t have power but I’m using generators to ensure the meals don’t spoil and we can continue providing the free service that we do to those in need,” he said
“I’m a Church Pastor but I’m also a firm believer in community.”
Mr Pratt and his team of volunteers serve meals out of two trailers but a sea container is currently being converted to store the food and provide refrigeration.
Mr Pratt made a point of thanking City of Swan Mayor Kevin Bailey.
“I’m very grateful for the support and leadership provided by the City of Swan, Mayor Kevin Bailey he is a true example of a leader, he rolls up his sleeves he provided glazed hams he had cooked himself for our Christmas meals which allowed us to feed up to 100 people a day over that period,” he said.
“He stood with us and fed the homeless on Christmas Eve, he could have been busy doing something else.
“He cares for people and I commend his leadership, humanity and compassion.”
Midland Meals sponsors include the City of Swan, Second Bite, Ellenbrook Collective and Aldi and the group has also attracted Steel makers who will help with the sea container fit out.