It was only 6-months ago that I was staying in the beautiful seaside town of Narooma, at a holiday home that belonged to a lovely lady called Sally.
I am now absolutely gutted by the devastation occurring on the NSW South Coast and around Australia, and worry for the well-being of the people affected by the bushfires. I’m also in a state of shock as I can’t think of what else I can do to even give back to the place I call my first home; Australia.
Last month, with the help of family and friends, I created a Facebook fundraiser in support of WIRES, NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Services and raised AU$1,212. I also donated 90 muesli bars and 90 biscuit packs to our local brigade when there was a call out for food supplies in support of our firefighters. This month, myself and some friends have created a GoFundMe fundraiser in support of the NSW Rural Fire Service.
As the world has been watching, hundreds of pockets around Australia are ablaze, and in some areas, at the mercy of these raging winds and 70-metre tall firewalls engulfing national parks, homes and buildings – compromising the safety of our local communities and the homes of our Australian wildlife.
As I wonder what else I can do, I thought I’d take to writing and see if I can connect the gaps between the different sites and links that I’ve read in support of those wanting to lend a hand, and to the people affected by the active bushfires across NSW/ACT, QLD, VIC, SA and WA.
To note, I am not affiliated to any of these groups directly, but as people want to help, it’s great to see how we can do so and where we can.
Here’s a few ways that you can support those affected by the Australian bushfires – and some suggestions don’t require monetary donations:
People from across Australia are volunteering to share the comforts of their home to people needing a place to rest, stopover location, to take a shower or just be in good company for a period.
- Airbnb Free short-term emergency housing for certain areas in NSW & VIC
- Find A Bed Connecting people offering a free bed (some permitting pets as well) in NSW, VIC and SA
- Helping Homes predominantly in NSW, VIC & QLD, acting as a virtual noticeboard for people who have a free room to spare for those in need of a temporary place because of the ongoing bushfires (some permitting pets and livestock as well)
- Empty Homes, NSW. Owners of empty holiday houses from the Jervis Bay Area right down to the far South Coast, offering accommodation to people affected by the fires.
- Facebook Group, ACT/NSW: Bushfire Emergency Accommodation in Canberra
- Facebook Group, NSW: Fire Evacuation and Pet Assistance
- Facebook Group, NSW: Central Coast and Hunter Valley Horse and Livestock Evacuation & Rescue Aid
- Facebook Group, VIC: Phelan & Henderson & Co A privately owned livestock and property agency servicing South and South East Gippsland can support 800 cattle and additional space for horses. Contact Simon Henderson on 0428 740 750 or Shelly Hamilton on 0451 543 370
- Facebook Group, NSW: Newcastle Open Doors
For those affected by the bushfires requiring immediate government assistance or local council support
- Evacuation Centres, NSW
- Temporary Emergency Accommodation Queanbeyan and Bungendore Showground, ACT/NSW
- NSW Department of Primary Industries. Landholders and community members affected by the NSW bushfires requiring assistance with emergency fodder, emergency water, livestock or domestic animal assessment should call the Agricultural and Animal Services hotline on 1800 814 647
- NSW Department of Primary Industries Animal Safe Places Several NSW South Coast centres available for people who need to relocate their animals, including larger animals such as horses, cattle and sheep. Moving animals and care of them at these centres is the owners’ responsibility including making sure they are fed, watered, have identification and regularly checked.
- Relief and Recovery Centres, VIC
- Disaster Recovery, SA
- Disasters & Emergencies, QLD
And, for personal well-being and support
- Lifeline Services experiencing a personal crisis with access to online, phone and face-to-face support
- Beyond Blue offering support to promote mental well-being
- eheadspace online and telephone support and counselling for young people aged between 12 – 25 years old
- #slabsforheroes movement, ACT/NSW are requesting for volunteers, food, water and toiletry supplies for the fire crews in rural and regional NSW
- Foodbank provides food and grocery items to 2,400 charitable organisations across Australia (who run food relief programs) and are accepting essential items like breakfast cereals, pasta, tinned fruit and vegetables, UHT milk, canned soups, bags of rice and personal hygiene and household items
- Farmer Joe’s Pantry in the Port Macquarie/Wauchope areas of NSW are accepting non-perishable goods
- Gippsland Farmer Relief, VIC are requesting newly purchased non-perishable food and toiletry donations for families affected by the bushfires
- The G Spot Canberra, ACT (food vendor in Gungahlin) regular updates of supply requests or a monetary donation. 100% of all monetary donations are spent on supplies being transported by trucks to the firefighters and residents affected by the fires in ACT/NSW.
- Facebook Group, NSW: Bushfire support Albury/Wodonga regular updates of supply requests and volunteer support
- GIVIT is connecting people to charities with specific items listed, required by community members in need in QLD & NSW
- BlazeAid lending a helping hand to rural communities in rebuilding fences and other structures in NSW, VIC & SA. Volunteer to build, clean, provide food catering or support in the teams in their tool sheds.
- Rescue Craft Co NSW, VIC, SA, QLD, WA & NT to make, craft and provide necessary items for the injured animals from the Australian bushfires
- Animal Rescue Craft Guild if you can sew, make, design, recycle or knit, craft your way to make products (beds, crates or containers) that will help animal rescue
- Animal Rescue Collective (ARC), a joint project of many animal rescue groups around Australia
- The Rescue Collective supply requests in NSW, VIC, SA & QLD or a monetary donation
- Warriors for Wildlife dedicated to rescuing sick, injured, orphaned or abandoned animals in need and assisting wildlife shelters. Supply requests or volunteer support in VIC, or a monetary donation.
- WIRES, NSW Wildlife Information and Rescue Services
- Wildlife Rescue South Coast, NSW
- Wild2Free Kangaroo Sanctuary, NSW
- RSPCA, NSW
- Mogo Zoo, NSW located south of Batemans Bay
- Native Animal Rescue Group, NSW Braidwood and surrounding areas
- Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, NSW
- Wildlife Victoria, VIC
- East Gippsland Wildlife Rehabilitators, VIC
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF), NSW & VIC
- Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, SA
- South Australian Veterinary Emergency Management (SAVEM), SA
- #spendwiththem Help rebuild towns and local businesses affected by fire and make a purchase from them online or with a phone order
- Mid-Coast NSW Lions District (201N1) encompassing Collarenebri, Moree, Ashford and Iluka to the North, then down the east coast to twin towns of Forster and Tuncurry, then across to Murrurundi and as far as Collarenebri and Premer in the West. Helping victims impacted by natural disasters include Fire & Rescue Services and families and farmers directly affected by the bushfires
- Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, VIC. All funds donated are distributed to disaster victims in Gippsland.
- Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, supporting people at Australian evacuation centres and recovery hubs, with emergency assistance
- The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW bushfire appeal, to help those affected rebuild their lives with food, clothing, furniture and other essentials
- The Salvation Army disaster appeal, providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders across Australia
- NSW Rural Fire Service, NSW
- Country Fire Authority, VIC
- South Australian Country Fire Service, SA
- Rural Fire Brigades Association, QLD
- Department of Fire and Emergency Services, WA
- Relief Run Donate your time and run or walk a 21.1km half marathon or 5km anytime/anywhere during 18 – 19 January 2020. 100% of your AU$50 registration fee will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund.
Any acts of kindness will make a difference to those that are affected and sometimes it’s just knowing that you care, that can go a long way. If you know someone who is impacted by the fires, you’d be surprised at how you could help; you may be able to dig up old photos together and re-print them, provide a nice meal in good company, or just lend a helping hand with a task that may need to be done.
Together, we will get through this.
Do add a comment below if there’s any newer links to be included and I’ll update the above as soon as I can.