An outpouring of support from the bushfire-ravaged Donnybrook community kept spirits of firefighters on the frontline high, with locals going above and beyond to help those keeping them safe. Between the town’s local cafes and restaurants, thousands of meals have been made for those on the front line, as well as for displaced locals forced to evacuate. The South West town has been under siege by several blazes which have ripped through almost 6000ha since January 9, when a freak lightning storm struck 300,000 times across WA. Hundreds of volunteer and career firefighters have been battling the infernos — which fluctuated between Emergency and Watch and Act level for a number of days before being downgraded to bushfire advice on Monday — around the clock since. And behind them, is the tight-knit community doing their part. Donnybrook Hotel owners Jason Griffiths and Mark McCarthy — who took over the business three years ago — said cooking for the firies was a way to give back to the community that had welcomed them with open arms. While caught off guard at the sheer quantity of meals ordered —hundreds — which cleared the hotel out of its stock last Wednesday, Mr Griffiths said there was “never any question” that they would assist. “With the community we have in Donnybrook, they’re so supportive, they’ve looked after us, we have to give that back in return in times like this,” he said. “Even though it was difficult with the late notice, we’re happy to do whatever we can to help — 100 per cent.” Mr Griffiths said the hotel — which would usually be open for dinner service — ran completely down on stock on Thursday and Sunday night, forcing them to close the restaurant for dinner trade. “Normally we would be open and the phone has not stopped ringing, people wanting meals but people understand,” he said. “They understand we’re feeding the firies and that’s more important, people get it.” Mr Griffiths said they struggled to fit all 200 meals into two utes on the Thursday night. “It was an incredible amount of food,” he said. When Donnybrook Riverside Restaurant owner Suren Numberdar got a call on Wednesday night that 200 meals were needed for those on the frontline, he did not hesitate and has continued to pump out over 1100 meals since. “We didn’t have that much time to think,” he said. “Normally we close between 2:30pm and 5pm. We’d almost locked the door around the time I got a call... around 2:30pm and they want to pick up at 5pm.” Within two-and-a-half hours, he, together with his pregnant wife and younger brother Ravi Jangra, who he works at the restaurant with, had whipped up 60 serves of fish and chips, 60 burgers and 74 serves of pasta. Unprepared for an order of such size — with a restaurant seated capacity of 80 — he went to great lengths to make it happen. “I checked what we had left in the coolroom and in the freezer,” Mr Numberdar said. “No restaurant keeps 200 meals. “The bakery couldn’t supply that number and we didn’t have the resources to go to Bunbury to get meat patties and burger buns. “So I called a taxi company in Bunbury — I had already called my supplier — for the driver to go there and pick up my stuff. We didn’t have any other option.” It cost them $100 in the fare, but that was neither here nor there for the brothers, who also cooked for those battling the Thomson Brook blaze last week. “It’s okay because money doesn’t matter in that situation, they (firefighters) are doing the hard work and now it’s our responsibility to help them,” he said. “I let them know — ‘anytime, 24 hours’.” Mr Griffiths said he was proud of the community and proud of how everyone had come together. “All the community businesses, we’ve been working together to make it happen so that’s what it’s all about, community spirit, working together and getting the job done,” he said. “The offers of help that we’ve received from the community because they can see we’re trying to help. “Those offers have been really appreciated, it’s just so good to see and feel that community spirit coming together in times like this absolutely, that’s the most important thing.” The hotel accommodation has also been fully booked by emergency crews, with staff working hard to constantly turn over the rooms as firefighters come and go. “They’re just coming and going and we’re just getting rooms clean so the next one can come in, it’s hectic, really hectic but our team of staff are just the best,” Mr Griffiths said. Cafe Tiffanys owner Kesh Nourish said the last two weeks had been full on for the whole community, with everyone only just coming off Christmas break. “We’re such a close knit community and I think everyone really feels and these things happen,” she said. “It’s been really hard. I think people don’t sort of realise when it’s people you know and it’s those kind of things as well, it’s really hard to not be able to, you just want to fix things.” On her way back from a trip to Sydney last week, Ms Nourish spent a significant amount of her drive across the Nullarbor co-ordinating her team that were under the pump catering for the firies. “I’ve had the team coming in of an evening after work, they’ve been in at five o’clock in the morning to make breakfast, that kind of thing which has just been amazing. Cafe Tiffanys — while continuing to maintain their regular opening hours — has contributed more than 250 meals to the firefighters including breakfast, lunches and even dinners, while also providing evacuated locals with food free of charge. “I’ve got friends that are local and I’ve been on the phone ringing and saying we’ve been evacuated at the caravan park so I’ve been sending them here to get free food because you want to feed them, it’s been really hard when I’ve been out there.” Ms Nourish said Donnybrook had an amazing, tight-knit and proactive community where everyone goes out of their way to help each other. Many other eateries in Donnybrook have also been feeding the firefighters, including Cafe 48 who catered over 570 meals, One Stop Roadhouse & KEBAB SHOP & Restaurant Donnybrook with over 240, Donnybrook CWA, Donnybrook Bakery and Big Apple Bakery.