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Good news: How people around the world are donating to bushfire victims

Lucy Dean
From sausage sizzles to charity benefits, here's how we're all helping out. Images: Instagram, Facebook, Getty
From sausage sizzles to charity benefits, here's how we're all helping out. Images: Instagram, Facebook, Getty

From $40 million Facebook fundraisers, to bootleg Bunnings sausage sizzles, people around the world are digging deep to support victims of Australia’s catastrophic bushfire crisis.

While comedian Celeste Barber’s juggernaut Facebook fundraiser has captivated global audiences after donees surpassed the initial goal of $3,000 to hit $40 million and counting, others have also found unique ways to lend a hand.

Bootleg Bunnings

A weekend trip to Bunnings and a charity sausage sizzle is an Australian institution.

But now, one has popped up in the Indonesian region of Seminyak. The Botanica Bar announced on Instagram that it would be hosting a charity sausage sizzle over the weekend of the 4th and 5th of January with all proceeds donated to the Red Cross Fire Relief Fund.

Over those two days, it raised IDR11.5 million, or around AU$1,194.

Findabed

Writer Erin Riley launched platform findabed.info to connect Aussies in need of a place to sleep following bushfires.

As if people opening up their homes to others in need wasn’t heart-warming enough, Australians have also begun offering to lend their caravans for long periods of time so those forced to rebuild can have a place to live during the process.

Golden Globes

Phoebe Waller-Bridge will donate this suit she wore to the Golden Globes. Image: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage via Getty.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge will donate this suit she wore to the Golden Globes. Image: Daniele Venturelli/WireImage via Getty.

The bushfires took centre stage at the Golden Globes, with Russell Crowe making an impassioned plea for climate leadership.

Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge also pledged to auction her glamorous suit with proceeds to go to bushfire efforts.

Free food

Members of the Melbourne-based Sikh Volunteers Australia have driven from town to town, serving free food to bushfire victims.

Unable to transport pre-cooked food, locals also opened their homes and businesses for the volunteer group to cook in.

Mittens for koalas

Knitters around the world picked up their needles to make protective pouches, mittens and blankets for affected wildlife.

The Animal Rescue Craft Guild said is has received offers of help from the US, UK, Germany, France and Hong Kong, Reuters reported.

“It’s been going crazy,” said Belinda Orellana, a founding member of the guild.

“The response has been amazing.”

Building possum boxes

Communities are also banding together to build possum boxes, wombat holes, water traps and feeders for animals in danger. Volunteers in Sydney will on Saturday 11 January for the Fundraising Lunch for our Wildlife meet up to build the structures, with a DJ performing and drinks and snacks also on offer to raise funds.

Free nudes

Instagram models in the US took a different approach to raising funds: selling nude pictures.

Sex worker Kaylen Ward from Los Angeles, who dubs herself ‘The Naked Philanthropist’ raised US$500,000 after promising to send a nude photo of herself to anyone who donated US$10 to bushfire charities.

Sports stars

Australian an international sporting stars have also dug deep, pledging lump sums of money or donations for every ace scored.

Cricket great Shane Warne has auctioned off his Australian Baggy Green cap, with the top bid currently at $315,000.

And tennis star Nick Kyrgios sparked a flurry of donations from the tennis community after promising to donate $200 for every ace he hits over summer, while Ash Barty has promised to donate all her winnings from the Brisbane International this week. Should she take out the tournament, that would be $360,000.

Hospitality

Australia’s top chefs have also decided to use their delicious skills for good.

NOMAD executive chef Jacqui Challinor has announced an à la carte brunch and bake sale with support from Aria, Ester, Rockpool Icebergs and Fred’s on Sunday 12 January. Proceeds will go to the Red Cross.

Bookings for the brunch sold out in hours, leading NOMAD to also hold a bake sale at nearby Chin Chin and a charity rooftop lunch at the Paramount Recreation Club for the same day.

Nearby Porteño is also holding a Fighting Fire with Fire Dinner, with tickets available for $185. All funds will go to Red Cross's Disaster Relief and Recovery fund. This event has also sold out.

In Victoria, Attica is pledging all proceeds from its first service on Tuesday 7 January to the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities, CFA, Victoria Bushfire Disaster Appeal and Wildlife Victoria Bushfire Appeal.

St Ali is also donating $1 from every coffee sold until Sunday 12 January to the Red Cross.

Events

Then there are the dozens of charity concerts and comedy nights that you can also head to, with proceeds going to a good cause.

In Melbourne, Stand Up For Bushfire Relief will see major Australian comedians Hannah Gadsby, Wil Andreson, Dave Hughes, Nazeem Hussain, Frank Woodley, Tommy Little, Joel Creasey and more take to the stage to raise funds.

Tones and I has also announced a bushfire benefit in Melbourne.

Next month, Sydney Olympic Park will also play host to a huge bushfire relief concert with the line up to be announced in the coming weeks.

Enmore Theatre will also host a fundraising night on 11 January, with artists including Thundamentals, Joyride, Hermitude and Rebecca Hatch all set to perform.

Authors and artists for fireys

And Australian and international authors and poets have also pitched in, auctioning off books and artwork for the cause.

Under the #AuthorsForFireys tag, authors like WILD’s Cheryl Strayed have pledged to donate personalised editions of their famous novels.

Journalist and author Leigh Sales has also gotten in on the action, auctioning off a book, tickets to the podcast ‘Chat 10, Looks 3’ events, and drinks with colleague and fellow ABC journalist Annabelle Crabb before the show.

Artists internationally and in Australia have also sold prints and digital downloads to raise funds.

American illustrator Jessica Durrant pledged 100 per cent of profits from her re-issued Australia watercolour print.

And Australian illustrator Kerrie Hess was one of hordes of Australians to donate proceeds. She promised to donate 100 per cent of all online sales of art prints and phone cases to WIRES wildlife rescue for 10 days, raising over $10,000 in three minutes and $26,000 in 24 hours.

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