LIKE many others, Janette Chapman had been sitting at home watching the rolling television coverage of the devastating bushfires.
On her couch in Merewether, she was hundreds of kilometres from the destruction in the state's south, but these fires and their impact had hit home.
So with an idea and a few phone calls, she acted.
Ms Chapman and her friends Gillian Summers and Sam Worth thought they would fill a car or two with items sought by the Rural Fire Service.
But by midday Sunday, the trio were trying to arrange a third and fourth truck to load with thousands of dollars worth of goods Novocastrians had donated.
Hundreds responded to a social media call for donations, turning up to a kerbside collection point in Merewether with everything from nasal spray to cartons of bottled water in hand.
"It's amazing," Ms Chapman said. "Everyone's the same, everyone wants to help but we don't know how.
"I didn't think it would be this big, it's overwhelming and quite emotional actually.
"We got a list off the Rural Fire Service support team in Sydney. We just put that out on Facebook ... medical supplies, sanitary products, water, Gatorade, sunscreen - it was quite a long list."
Ms Summers said she was "gob-smacked" by the community's response.
"That's Newcastle," she said.
"People have come from nowhere and worked all day. Everybody has pitched in.
"It's just extraordinary."
What was initially a "chaotic" scene in Rowan Crescent as the donations flooded in on Sunday morning quickly turned into an organised and fast-paced operation.
Many of those who arrived to donate stayed for hours arranging, boxing and loading the products. Carboard boxes, packing tape and reusable bags also seemed in endless supply.
Cooks Hill's Fran Smith didn't think twice about sticking around.
"A few hours in the sun is nothing compared to what the people this is going to are going through," she said.
Merewether's James Ferguson arrived with a truck owned by his building company Scipio.
Mr Ferguson, whose parents live on the edge of Narooma but have been staying in an evacuation centre, said he was prepared to drive the seven-tonne truck wherever necessary.
He had cancelled his planned return to work on Monday in order to do so.
Ms Chapman said the initial plan was to transport the goods to a larger collection point in Sydney, but they could potentially be driven directly to the South Coast.