The 4078 Pay It Forward Facebook group has been making a great difference in the lives of community members through acts of kindness in Forest Lake and surrounding areas since 2016.
The group operates as a safe space for people in the community to give away items and offer free services to those in need.
4078 Pay it Forward admin and founder Shontelle Prout was inspired to start the group in 2016 after she decided to pay forward a meal one day for a stranger in the car behind her in the drive-thru.
“I had noticed the emergence of “freebie” or “buy nothing” groups on Facebook and I was inspired to create something special for our local community on a larger scale – after all, one meal is only helping one person,” she said.
“What if I could create a ripple effect? I wanted to create something that was more than just freebies – something with meaning and kindness – and so 4078 Pay it Forward was born.”
On May 29, 2016, Mrs Prout and a handful of friends created the group on Facebook. The first free item to be listed that day was her kitchen kettle.
The group has since grown to more than 2,900 members. Furniture, clothing, food and toys are among the most common items listed.
“We have seen such incredible kindness. People have given away almost anything you could imagine, from car parts to meals, clothing to garden sheds and even yard work,” Mrs Prout said.
“During the recent flood events, we saw offers of loads of laundry, items of furniture and clothing for families in need.
“We love the spirit of giving, as well as the fact that so much has been saved from landfill.”
Shontelle Prout runs her own social media management business from home. She has lived in Forest Lake since 2011 with her husband, two children, their dog and two guinea pigs.
“We love the community atmosphere here, particularly for young families,” she said.
She was also one of the founding members of the Brisbane South Toy Library and currently volunteers for a local community kindergarten by managing their social media.
Two of her friends, Tammy Duggin and Lisa Robinson from Forest Lake, also work as volunteer admins for the 4078 Pay It Forward group. Tammy has been a local volunteer in her personal life, and Lisa volunteers and works in the disability and assistance dog field.
Mrs Prout said anyone in 4078 and surrounding areas are welcome to join the Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/116153632137826.
“Please join us and see the kindness first hand,” she said.
“All you need to do is answer three simple questions and we will welcome you into our community – even if you have nothing yet to give, that is not a barrier to joining.
“We are certain that our community will be inspired by the spirit of giving.”