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From families and firies to wildlife: How you can help those affected by the bushfires now.

Millions of people around Australia and the world have watched the horrors of the bushfire crisis unfolding in our country since September 2019.

From the 25 lives and hundreds of homes lost to the more than 10 million hectares of precious habitat razed and almost half a billion animals that perished within it — this is a crisis on an unprecedented scale.

It’s easy to feel helpless in the face of such a disaster. But those affected need us and they will still be needing us for months and years to come; be it by volunteering time and skills in the recovery effort, shopping from local businesses or holidaying in affected communities.

But what about right now? What can we do?

Watch: This is what our firies are facing. Post continues below.

Video by NSW RFS

Local governments and relief organisations have stressed that financial donations are the most beneficial, as many (already stretched and stressed) communities don’t have the resources to receive, store and distribute unsolicited donations of clothes, toys and other goods.

Giving money allows organisations to help people in the most effective way based on their specific needs; be it immediate emergency food and supplies, mental health counselling, or simply a cash boost so they can begin to rebuild.

These are just some of the causes you could donate to during the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire crisis.

To help locals in fire-affected communities…

The Australian Red Cross
More than 1200 trained Red Cross staff and volunteers have been dispatched to support people at 69 evacuation centres and recovery hubs around Australia. As well as comforting those affected, they are helping to arrange emergency accommodation and wellbeing phone calls and locating missing loved ones through their Register.Find.Reunite service. They’ve also begun processing applications for $5000 grants for those who’ve lost their homes.
Donate via the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery website.

The Salvation Army
The Salvos are offering disaster support that includes financial assistance, material assistance, housing support, mental health support, and more, to those in bushfire-affected communities around the country. Just $80 can help provide household essentials during the emergency.
Donate via the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal website.

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St Vincent De Paul Society
The Vinnies Bushfire Appeal is collecting money so its people on the ground can provide food, clothing and other essentials to those in need, as well as cover their unexpected bills, refer them to necessary services and provide practical and emotional support as they pick up the pieces.
To donate, visit the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal website.

Victorian Bushfire Appeal
A partnership between the Victorian Government, Salvation Army and Bendigo Bank, with 100 per cent of funds going to communities in need.
To donate visit the website or any Bendigo Bank branch.

(SA) State Emergency Relief Fund
The South Australian Government has activated the SERF in response to the fires in the Adelaide Hills. An independent committee is responsible for the fair distribution of the funds, which go to those most in need.
Donations can be made by EFT, credit card, cash or cheque. For details, visit the SA Government website.

Kangaroo Island Mayoral Relief and Recovery Bushfire Fund
In partnership with Bank SA, this appeal will offer financial assistance to affected residents of Kangaroo Island so they can rebuild their lives, homes and businesses.
Donate via the website.

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To help firefighters…

NSW Rural Fire Service
The NSW RFS has more than 72,000 volunteers, many of which have been fighting these blazes around the clock. While they are provided with firefighting equipment, donations help them deliver additional services to the community. You can donate to a particular brigade or to NSW RFS as a whole, with funds used for the benefit of volunteer brigades.
Donate via EFT, cheque or credit card. Details on the RFS website, here.

Victorian Country Fire Authority
To support the CFA, you can donate to a CFA brigade of your choice via the Brigades Donations Fund or alternatively to CFA generally via the CFA Public Fund, which funds volunteer leadership and development training.
For details, visit the CFA website here.

South Australian Country Fire Service
The CFS Foundation provides financial assistance to CFS volunteer firefighters and their families who have suffered through death, injury, loss or damage of property while in the line of service.
Donate via the website or call 1300 270 278.

Rural Fire Service Queensland
The Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland supports the more than 1400 rural fire brigades across the state, including their 33,600+ volunteers.
Donate via the RFBAQ website or call 1300 663 539.

The families of the firefighters who lost their lives.
 The NSW RFS has established dedicated bank accounts to collect funds to support the families of Samuel McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer, who died while on duty during the crisis.
For details on how to donate, visit the RFS website.

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To help wildlife…

RSPCA
The state branches of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals are working to help assess and treat the countless animals, including pets, wildlife and livestock, that have been affected by fires around the country.
For details on how to donate to your local branch, visit the bushfire crisis page on the RSPCA website.

NSW — WIRES
Wildlife rescue organisation WIRES is appealing for donations to support its volunteer rescuers and carers who have been inundated with animals in the wake of the drought and bushfires. In December alone, they received over 20,000 calls and volunteers attended over 3,300 rescues.
To donate, visit the WIRES website or call (02) 8977 3396.

SA — Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park Fund
The Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park Fund has been established in aid of the significant number of native species, including koalas, that have been injured in the Kangaroo Island fires. The park has been treating the animals with pain relief and antibiotics as well as building new infrastructure to provide a new home for them as they are rehabilitated.
To donate, visit the GoFundMe page here.

VIC — Zoos Victoria Bushfire Emergency Wildlife Fund
Zoos Victoria has established a fund to raise money for emergency veterinary care for affected wildlife as well as scientific intervention (for example, exploring supplementary feeding for the animals who have survived, but whose habitats have been destroyed).
To donate, visit the Zoos Victoria website.

NOTE: Beware of bushfire fundraising scams. A number have been circulated via social media, email, text message and cold calls. To ensure you are donating to an authentic cause, the ACCC advises you to:

  • Do not donate via fundraising pages on platforms that do not verify the legitimacy of the fundraiser or that do not guarantee your money will be returned if the page is determined to be fraudulent.
  • Check the terms and conditions of funding platforms and ensure you are dealing with official organisations.
  • If you are unsure, make your donation to an established charity – you can search for these via the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission Charity Register.

… And there’s more.

Mamamia Out Loud, our bi-weekly podcast, is coming to Melbourne for a live show, with 100 per cent of all ticket proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross disaster relief and recovery fund.

It’s a brand new show, full of laughs and news and opinions and a few special surprises, with Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and Jessie Stephens, on February the 11th. You can buy tickets right now at mamamia.com.au/events. See you there! 

Is there another bushfire charity you think is worth highlighting? Share in the comments below.

Feature image: Getty.

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