THEY came here with little more than the shirts on their backs.

But the Gladstone community has dug deep and given the region's latest arrivals renewed faith in humanity.

Shenae O'Donnell and William McGee, both 21, have been overwhelmed by the response to their desperate call for furniture.

The 21-year-olds left crime-ridden Shepparton, in Victoria, behind at the start of April.

What started out as a two-week holiday turned into a permanent move for the young couple and their three children.

Ms O'Donnell, who is due to give birth to their fourth child in 14 weeks, said they had nothing but their clothes and a few toys for the children until yesterday.

She put a call out on Facebook and city residents responded whole-heartedly, offering up beds, a cupboard, a lounge suite and a cot.

I don't know anyone from a bar of soap here but everyone's just so generous.

The couple has been staying with Mr McGee's mother, Leeanne McGee, for about a month.

Ms O'Donnell said the region would be a great place to raise her children, William, 3, Linken, 2, and Frankee-Lee, 1.

"We actually came for a holiday at the start of April, and just decided to start looking for houses and not go back," she said.

"We decided it was a good environment for kids.

"(Shepparton has) grown a bit rough over the years - the crime is getting really bad, and William's job opportunity is up in the air (there).

"People were getting stabbed, bashed and people's houses were getting broken into."

Ms O'Donnell said she was overwhelmed by the response to her Facebook post.

"Where I come from no-one is like that," she said.

"I don't know anyone from a bar of soap here but everyone's just so generous.

"I'm sending one lady flowers.

"It just amazed me - everyone's so warm-hearted.

"If I could thank people all day I would.

"It just shows you how much people are there to help you."

The family needs a washing machine, fridge, kitchen wares and other homewares.

Mr McGee also needs work to tide him over until he gets a white card, which will allow him to work in the region as a traffic controller.

Offers of help can be made on 4973 9954.



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