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Where to Donate and Other Ways To Support The Australian Bushfire Relief

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The bushfires currently burning across Australia are unprecedented, and have – to date – engulfed more than 6.3 million hectares of land in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia. This crisis has seen towns completely evacuated, residents lose homes and belongings, and refuge having to be sought on piers and beaches. Lives have also been lost, and the toll on Australia’s livestock and native wildlife populations is devastating; an estimated half a billion animals have already died in the fires. 

There has been an outpouring of support from Australians and people all over the word. If you would like to make a financial contribution to ongoing bushfire relief efforts, you can do so at some of the charities and organisations below:

As well as monetary donations, there are also a number of other initiatives and ways to show your support. Some of these efforts become especially impactful as fire-affected towns and communities look towards rebuilding and re-establishing their local economies in the months, and years, to come. Below are some of the other ways you can help the Australian bushfire relief. 

Support Regional Businesses

As towns are evacuated and tourists are directed to avoid regional areas, small regional businesses are often the first to feel the brunt – with many facing the prospect of having to permanently close. Turn your attention to buying online from regional producers, growers and businesses to help these stores keep their doors open and to inject money back into these small local economies. Originally established to support rural communities experiencing drought, Buy From The Bush now has more than 190,000 followers on Instagram and showcases products – from clothing and gifts, to jewellery and homewares – made by and available from small regional businesses. Spend With Them is a similar account (started by Turia Pitt and Grace McBride) that features businesses devastated by the bushfires.

Visit Cafes, Restaurants and Stores Donating Profits or Proceeds

Make your morning coffee, weekend breakfast, or catch up with friends go towards a good cause by frequenting the city-located shops and stores that have pledged to donate a portion of their profits or proceeds towards the bushfire relief. Check out a list of just a few of the restaurants, cafes and stores across Australia that are pitching in:

Bills Cafe, Sydney$1 from the sale of the house favourite ricotta hotcakes in January will go to NSW RFS, CFA, Red Cross and WIRES Wildlife Rescue.
King & Godfree, MelbourneBuy a coffee and King & Godfree will donate $1 to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. 
Seoul Sisters, Adelaide$1 from every coffee sold in January will be donated to the CFS. 
Bar Lourinhã, Melbourne$2 from every oyster sold throughout January will be donated to the Red Cross and NSW RFS.
Tipico, MelbourneUntil January 26, Tipico will be donating $1 from every pizza and pasta dish sold to the Vinnies Victoria Bushfire Appeal.
Lankan Filling Station, SydneyAll profits from sales of their cashew curry will be donated to The Salvation Army Disaster Appeal.
Tokyo Bird, Sydney$1 from every cocktail sold in January will be donated to the NSW RFS and Red Cross.
The Cheeky Pint, MelbourneFor the month of January, The Cheeky Pint will donate $1 for every pint of beer sold – and $2 from every pint of pale ale – to bushfire relief funds.
Australian Venue Co,, Queensland$1 from ever scooner and $2 from every pint of XXXX Gold sold until 1st February will be donated to the National Bushfire Disaster Appeal.
Whisky and Alement, MelbourneWhisky and Alement will be offering Bushfire Boilermakers every day between 4-5pm throughout January, with sponsorship from local brewers Moon Dog, Stomping Ground and more.
The Austral, Adelaide$5 from every jug of Coopers Pale and Session Ales, Mismatch Session Ale and The Hills Cider Co. will be donated to bushfire relief charities.
The Grand Junction Tavern, Adelaide$1 from every schooner and $2 from every pint of Furphy sold will be donated to the National Bushfire Disaster Appeal until 1 February.
Fonda Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne
For the month of January, 100% of ticket sales at Fonda’s rooftop cinema will be donated to Wires Wildlife Rescue.
Fashion & Beauty
Ally Fashion100% of sales on their canvas bag tote range will be donated to the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Frank Body 100% of A-Beauty Scrub sales will be donated to Wires Wildlife Rescue, Country Fire Service and NSW Rural Fire Service throughout January.
Haus of Dizzy100% of profits from Indigenous Pride heart studs will be donated throughout January.
Grown AlchemistThe Australian skincare brand will donate all proceeds from its Detox Hydra-Mist+ to the Australian Red Cross.

Attend Benefits and Fundraising Shows

Industries and communities across Australia are banding together to put on benefit dinners, charity gigs, comedy performances, bake sales and more, with funds raised all going to various relief efforts. In Sydney, the Fire Fight Australia concert is scheduled for Sunday, 16 February at ANZ Stadium, and there are smaller concerts happening all throughout January at various venues around the city. Buy a ticket to Melbourne’s Down to Earth at the Myer Music Bowl, happening on Wednesday, 26 February, to see headliners like Angus and Julia Stone and Tash Sultana. All profits are being donated to organisations providing immediate fire relief. Stand Up For Bushfire Relief is in Melbourne on Monday, 20 January, and welcomes comedians such as Hannah Gadsby, Wil Anderson, Dave Hughes, Tommy Little and more to the stand-up stage. Keep an eye on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds for updates about other events as social media is often the first place these appeals are announced. Another option is to organise your own local fundraiser – garage sale, bake sale, charity auction – for your area. 

Give What is Needed

Emergency services were overwhelmed with the volume of goods donated at the end of December 2019 and early January 2020. NSW Disaster Recovery and other official bodies however, are now requesting that those wishing to help contribute financially if possible, as stockpiles of clothes, furniture and other items grew at a rate that has become hard to manage. However, if you still want to donate goods, look to organisations such as Givit, who have compiled lists of exactly what is needed by those in fire-affected areas. You can give these items, as well as donate a service. There are also many locally-operated initiatives and drives that are collecting donations, including personal items, clothing and non-perishable foods, that you can contribute to. Check in with local councils and groups to get involved.

Another simple way to help rural communities is recycling empty drink containers to any TOMRA, Return and Earn or Containers For Change locations. Eligible containers – bottles, cans and cartons – donated raise 10c for Bottles for the Bush and Rural Aid, which support fire-impacted communities that were also already experiencing drought. 

Make the Pledge to Visit

Many of the small towns affected by the bushfires rely heavily on tourism as one of their major economies, Both domestic and international visitors have been evacuated and are being asked to stay away until warnings have been lifted. This has a devastating impact on businesses that rely on tourism to stay afloat, from the local hotels and restaurants, to national parks and attractions. The knock-on effect from this is, that even once it is safe to visit, tourists will stay away. So, as soon as the all clear by officials has been given, plan to pack up the car and take a day trip – or more – to fire-impacted regions. Look to Stay In The Bush (from the same women behind Buy From The Bush) for accommodation options, and join the #GoWithEmptyEskys campaign by travelling out with your cooler and filling it with local buys from farmers’ markets, butchers, bakeries, produce growers, and more. These initiatives become essential in months and years to come as these regions begin to rebuild. 

Open Up Your Home

Have a spare room or property you can offer to those who have lost their own homes in the fires? Airbnb are connecting hosts with bushfire victims, evacuees and relief workers through the Open Homes program. 

You can also head to Find A Bed to offer a place to stay to someone in need, or find a place to stay if you have been affected.

Plus A Small Way To Help Local Wildlife

Leave out bowls of water for animals and birds escaping fire-affected areas, especially if you live in outer suburbs close to the city fringe, parks and reserves. Ensure the bowls are shallow and place some sticks or stones on one side so smaller animals don’t get stuck. If you do see or find injured or burned wildlife, try to wrap it in a piece of 100% cotton (if possible). Do not attempt to feed it or provide medical care. The best thing to do if you come across sick, hurt or distressed wildlife is to call WIRES in New South Wales, Wildlife Victoria, or the RSPCA in other parts of the country.

Hero image: Smokey sunset Albury NSW Credit: thennickeCC BY-SA 2.0

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