Our country has been burning for almost 3 months. Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought have fueled a series of massive bushfires across Australia. So far, we have lost 28 lives, an estimated 10 million hectares of bush, forest and park lands and over 1 billion animals.
Australia’s bushfire crisis has left small business owners across the country spiraling as the traditionally busy summer trading period vanishes in the face of emergency tourism warnings and evacuations. With millions of hectares of land burned and thousands of properties lost, small business from Toowomba, Queensland to Gippsland, Victoria say they and their communities are facing an uncertain future.
Our country has united with many donations flooding into major organisations such as The Red Cross, NSW Rural Fire Services and WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue. No doubt the funds will be distributed to those in need, however there are other ways you can help support the local communities who will soon be dealing with the aftermath of the fires and looking to rebuild their lives.
Many of these affected towns have relied on the tourist dollar for their survival. So here is how you can help and put money directly in the pockets of the people and communities who need it the most, and need it now.
@spendwiththem an initiative started by inspirational burns survivor Turia Pitt. Spend With Them helps you buy direct from clothing labels, surf shops, farms, wineries, distilleries and more from residents and businesses in fire-ravaged areas.
@buyfromthebush is a similar website started back in 2018 to help rural communities facing drought, who no doubt would have been affected by this seasons bushfires.
It’s My Shout allows you to shout someone a coffee, in an effort to ensure small businesses don’t fold under the economic strain of the events. Purchases through the platform are intended as donations, so that businesses can pass on services to others directly effected by the fires. For example, by purchasing a coffee to be handed out to a member of the community, or by paying for a room, which can be used to house a family.
Once the bushfires are over, these communities need our help. So for your next holiday, consider a getaway to these towns and help them rebuild. Go with an empty tank of petrol, fill up at a local gas station; stay in a family owned BnB; eat and drink local produce; and purchase a gift for a family member or friend from the local shop. Any gesture big or small will help these communities feel supported on their road to recovery.
List of other organisations you may wish to donate to –
Wildlife Victoria – https://www.wildlifevictoria.org.au/
Victoria Country Fire Authority Bushfire Disaster Appeal – https://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about/supporting-cfa
Victorian Bushfire Appeal – https://www.vic.gov.au/bushfireappeal
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital – https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-thirsty-koalas-devastated-by-recent-fires