AS LEETON'S hospitality industry continues to adapt to new measures during uncertain times, one Leeton resident is making it her mission to ensure they are supported by the wider community.
When the federal government announced restrictions would be put in place for licensed venues, bars, cafes, restaurants, bakeries and the like, Leeton's Sarah Cleathero wanted to find a way to help ensure these businesses could still find a way through.
Ms Cleathero started a Facebook group titled Leeton Eating In - Food Delivery/Takeaway Businesses with the aim of bringing both consumers and providers together in the one place.
Businesses can share their opening hours, their menus, the services they are providing, with many now offering delivery services where they once weren't.
Since the group's creation it has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.
It is now closing in on 2000 members, who are sharing photos of the food they've ordered and businesses are posting the services they provide - often on a daily basis and even making sure to still provide special deals.
Ms Cleathero worked in the food and hospitality industry before an injury/condition rendered her housebound and unfit to do so.
She said she was all too aware of the challenges these businesses are now facing and wanted to play a small part in helping them out.
"I have a passion and understanding of the industry, so I am always trying to look for ways to keep involved, within my limitations," Ms Cleathero said.
"I love to help people where I can.
"As with everyone, I was heartbroken for our businesses when COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
"There was a lot of confusion and uncertainty within the community. Businesses have had to implement new ways to stay afloat, while maintaining social distancing and hygiene practises.
"Consumers were constantly asking who was still trading and what places were offering takeaways/deliveries?
"I knew there had to be a way to support our businesses and keep customers informed.
"Social media is obviously a great platform."
And so, the Facebook group was formed.
When she first started the group, Ms Cleathero had no idea the response would be so positive and far-reaching within the community.
"The response to the page has been phenomenal ... I never doubted the generosity and support of our town, but this makes me so proud to be a 'Leetonian'," she said.
"Businesses and consumers are generously giving support to each other, it's so nice to see."
Despite the obvious benefits, the page is also providing quick and easy access for people to view at any time.
I have a passion and understanding of the industry, so I am always trying to look for ways to keep involved, within my limitations.Leeton's Sarah Cleathero
With many in the community still working and employed, these businesses are now often helping to feed families and give parents and carers a break from the kitchen.
"We now have more businesses offering delivery services," Ms Cleathero said.
"Our hard-working essential workers are also benefiting from such services with deliveries to workplaces on the rise.
"I've had feedback from our businesses that takeaways have exceeded their expectations, phone lines are constantly ringing and even to the point they are selling out.
"They are also so overwhelmed and grateful for the support. Some are confidently thinking ahead with hopes to continue these services when this pandemic is over."
With the page doing so well now, Ms Cleathero said her only wish was to see it continue flourish once the pandemic is "over".
While not everyone is on social media, Ms Cleathero was hopeful the service would still reach those people.
"Members, family/friends are free to print off the list of businesses operating, as well as the menus for such people," she said.
"This will enable it to reach the wider community."