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Bushfire relief: How to donate to the Australian bushfire recovery efforts

Here's how and where to donate to support the bushfire recovery efforts. (Source: AAP, Getty)

As firefighters continue to battle blazes across the country, you might be wondering how you can help the dozens of Australians whose homes have been destroyed by the bushfires.

Here are a few places you can donate your money to assist communities struggling with losing their homes, workers assisting with putting out the bushfires, and even animals who have been stranded from the fires:

NSW Rural Fire Service

These guys are at the frontlines battling for control over the bushfires – but they’re also part of your local community and often offer help in non-emergency roles. Donations to the RFS can also be tax deductible, but it’s best to check with your local brigade to be sure.

How to donate to the NSW RFS

Where your money will go

The RFS says your money will go to the volunteers who help out with the service.

“Donations made directly to the NSW RFS are for the benefit of volunteer brigades and are always gratefully received and are a tremendous help,” NSW RFS states on their website.

Salvation Army Bushfire Appeal

The Salvation Army Emergency Services teams are responding to the bushfires in NSW and Queensland and are providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders as well as whatever support the situation requires.

How to donate

Where your money will go

“Your generous donation means that we can deliver crucial support right when it's needed, and that we can stay as long as it takes to help local communities make a full recovery,” the Salvation Army said on their website.

You can decide how much to donate, but here’s how far your money can go:

  • $80 will provide “household essentials during an emergency”,

  • $125 can “help reach isolated families in an emergency”,

  • $250 will go towards providing “immediate assistance like food and shelter”, and

  • A generous $1,000 will see “ongoing care and support in the aftermath of an emergency”.

Lyn and Peter Iverson with their burnt out office and shed on their property at Half Chain road, Koorainghat, Monday, November 11, 2019. (AAP Image/Darren Pateman)

Red Cross Disaster relief and recovery

Donations to the Red Cross disaster relief and recovery effort will go towards supporting those who are going through an emergency, disaster or trauma, such as those affected by natural disasters like bushfires.

Red Cross’ disaster relief and recovery is also backed by Service NSW.

How to donate

You can also call them on 1800 811 700.

Where your money goes

Donations will:

  • Help train staff, aid workers and volunteers prepare to respond as soon as disaster strikes;

  • Teach and support communities to better prepare for disasters;

  • Help affected communities recover from emergencies;

  • Train and send specialist aid workers to help Red Cross volunteers; and

  • Maintain stocks of equipment like water filtration, shelter, hygiene and cooking cits that are used in emergencies.

Unfortunately, if you want to donate goods, Red Cross says their experience has shown communities recover faster when they can make their own choices.

Wytaliba resident Storm Sparks holds her son Zeke Bacon as she waits to get back to her house at a roadblock near Glen Innes, Monday, November 11, 2019. There are more than 60 fires burning around the state, with more than half of those uncontained. (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

GIVIT: Queensland, NSW fires 2019

The Queensland State Government has set up their own website for fundraising appeals including support for Queenslanders affected by the bushfires.

Through the website, you can either donate specific items identified by those who need it, such as mattresses and bedding items or white goods, or donate money.

How to donate to Givit

Where your money will go

The funds will go towards “support[ing] drought and bushfire-affected communities”.

The GIVIT website states: “100 per cent of funds received by GIVIT are used to purchase locally, where possible, what is needed as communities recover and rebuild.”

When donating funds, you can choose whether to donate to the Queensland fires, the NSW fires, or other appeals that Givit is currently holding.

St Vincent de Paul Society Bushfire Appeal (NSW), Disaster Appeal (QLD)

Vinnies has a number of appeals running at any given time, and has two separate appeals for the NSW Fires and a broader one for disasters in Queensland.

How to donate to Vinnies

Where your money will go

Money to these Vinnies appeals will help cover food and groceries for families going through a tough time; a place to rest and sleep for these individuals and families with nowhere to go; and essentials like clothing, blankets and toiletries.

About $50 will cover food assistance; $100 can get families a fresh set of clothes; $300 can cover emergency accommodation; $1,100 will set a family up with bedding, furniture and appliances; and a generous $5,000 can help fund a family’s rent while they rebuild their home.

Australia Post

Your local post office is also helping to gather funds and donations and getting it to where it needs to go: in this instance, the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. This partnership is particularly helpful for those who live in rural areas, said Australia Post’s Nicole Sheffield.

"Australia Post has a large presence in rural and remote Australia and I want to recognise and give my heartfelt thanks to our people on the ground who are playing a critical part in supporting their communities,” she said.

How to donate through your local post office

  • Just drop into an Australia Post outlet – your donation will end up at the Red Cross.

Where your money will go

Your donations will help Red Cross help communities through emergency volunteers; providing psychological first aid; working at evacuation centres; and helping people get back in touch with loved ones.

Commonwealth Bank

Similar to Australia Post, Australia’s largest bank has established an arrangement where you can donate to the Red Cross through the bank.

How to donate through CBA

  • It’s as easy as visiting your local branch and making a donation there.

Where your money will go

“Money donated will help Red Cross in its assistance to those impacted communities through specialist teams available on the ground, supporting people through the emergency and through their long-term recovery in the weeks, months and years afterwards,” CBA said in a statement.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

Wildlife that don’t escape the fires unscathed will need assistance too. If you’re wanting to help out koalas that have found themselves worse for wear, you can donate to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital through a GoFundMe page that has been set up for them. It’s proven popular – they’ve already surpassed their $25,000 target more than 10 times over.

How to donate

Where your money will go

“Money raised will be used to distribute the drinking stations in the fire affected region. If enough money is raised, it will distribute to other significant koala habitat areas across the State,” the GoFundMe page states. These drinking stations will help prevent further deaths by dehydration.

Now read: How to donate to wildlife injured by the Australian bushfires

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