Since late 2019 bushfires have raged across Australia, spreading over 10 million hectares of land, destroying over 2,000 homes and taking the lives of more than 25 people and half a billion wild animals. With numbers so high, it is all to easy to feel helpless.
But that stops now. There are many ways each and everyone of us can help the firefighters, animal rescue groups, and communities and families who have lost so much.
Foodbank is Australia’s largest food relief organisation, operating on a scale that makes it crucial to the work of the front line charities who are feeding vulnerable Australians. Foodbank provides more than 70% of the food rescued for food relief organisations nation-wide. They accept donations of money or food, and have a list of accepted food on their website here.
Givit is a national not-for-profit connecting those who have with those who need, in a private and safe way. They accept monetary donations as well as items and support multiple campaigns accross Australia including the NSW and Queensland fires, Drought Relief, Indigenous Support and the Back to School Appeal. Once you click on the map or appeal you want to donate to, a list will appear that clearly shows what items Givit is searching for. View this list here.
For the crafty among us, your help is desperately needed by the Animal Rescue Craft Guild to make items for injured or orphaned animals such as joey pouches, bat wraps, quilts, blankets, animal jumpers and crochet bird nests. For information on sizes, patterns, tutorials and fabrics, join the Craft Guild on Facebook. They will also keep you up to date on exactly what is needed.
Air BNB is currently allowing people to list their extra space on their website. There is also a map of locations in Australia to show where this space is needed. If you are able to offer a room, or if you are in need of a room, click on this link.
The simplest way to help is by donating money – even organisations that accept goods like Foodbank have said they would prefer monetary donations since they can spend it on the exact items they need, and are often able to purchase food and other items at a cheaper rate than we can.
The Australian Red Cross
The Red Cross offers support to communities involved in disasters.
New South Wales Rural Fire Service
The NSW RFS is the lead combat agency for bush fires in New South Wales. They respond to a multitude of emergencies and are acknowldged to be the largest volunteer fire service in the world. The website also offers advice for survival plans and shows a map of New South Wales so you can quickly check which areas are affected by bush fire.
The CFA Victoria is a volunteer and community based fire and emergency services organisation. If you live in Victoria, please also visit their website to see up to date warnings and restrictions, as well as information on how to plan and prepare for an emergency.
WIRES Wildlife Rescue
WIRES is a wildlife rescue organisation in New South Wales that has already rescued thousand of animals since the start of the bush fires. They often receive between 600 and 1000 calls a day to help wildlife and are truly stretched to deal with the thousands of animals harmed by the current bush fires and drought.
Wildlife Victoria’s mission is to help and protect wildlife through rescue, education, and advocacy activities. They respond to community reports of distressed wildlife and facilitate the care needed. They also promote community knowledge and care of wildlife and advocate for the protection and welfare of wildlife.
The WWF is asking for support to establish a $30 million Australian Wildlife and Natural Recovery Fund. You can help WWF-Australia get emergency funds to care for our injured wildlife and when the fires clear, help restore the forest homes our koalas, kangaroos and other animals have lost.
Koala Hospital rescues and treats sick and injured koalas until they are ready to be released back into the wild. The also work on conservation and expansion of habitat, collection of information for research relating to habitat, disease, nutrition and habits of wild koalas and to provide educational material, to increase public awareness of all aspects of the koala.
Community Enterprise Foundation
Community Enterprise Foundation offers communities and not-for-profit organisations across Australia the opportunity to raise and distribute tax-effective donations to benefit their own communities. They are committed to providing the expertise, tools and resources to respond to current and future needs of communities. They are raising money for the VIC bushfire disaster appeal.
Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund has been established to provide immediate financial assistance to residents who suffer loss or hardship as a result of an emergency that occurs within the Gippsland region. They support residents residents who have lost their homes or had their property damaged by a bushfire, flood or storm event.
St Vincent de Paul Society currently has a bushfire appeal to provide food, clothing, essential items and grocery vouchers for people who have lost everything. Pay unexpected bills as people work through the recovery process. Make referrals onto a range of other organisations providing crisis accommodation and specialised services. Give much-needed emotional support, as well as practical assistance to pick up the pieces after homes are lost.
The Salvation Army
The Salvation Army offers a range of services and assistance measures to help people who have been impacted by disasters, including financial assistance, emotional support and referrals.
Go Fund Me
There are currently many live fundraisers set up by families and communities that are affected by the bush fires (many of which do not seem to be getting the aid and supplies they need) as well as organisations in need of extra donations to continue to help both people and wildlife. There is also a centralised page for donations linked the bush fires on Go Fund Me which is linked in the title above.
Keep yourself safe
The number one thing you need to do is insure that you stay smart, and protect yourself and your family. Listen or read news reports, download apps such as the Vic Emergency App that notifies you of reports close to your home. You can also view fire reports at My Fire Watch. And most importantly, know your evacuation plan, just incase something does happen close to your home.