NEWS
09/01/2020 3:49 PM AEDT | Updated 09/01/2020 4:33 PM AEDT

Australian Bushfires: Here's How You Can Donate And Help

There are various ways to make a difference in support of firefighting services, wildlife shelters and locals affected by the fires.

As Australia’s worst bushfire crisis continues, so does the generosity of many across the globe to assist people who have lost their homes or loved ones over the past few months. 

While many celebrities have forked out big sums to support firefighting services and wildlife shelters, charities assure the public that any amount of money, big or small, can make a difference during this time of national devastation. 

Here are some ways you can donate and make a difference.

Brett Hemmings via Getty Images
 A sign shows the public where to unload donated goods at the Food Bank Distribution Centre bound for areas impacted by bushfires on January 07, 2020 in the Glendenning suburb of Sydney, Australia.

Firefighting Services 

New South Wales Rural Fire Service 

Donations made to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) will benefit volunteer firefighters who are on the ground. You can support the local brigade by donating here.

The NSW RFS has also set up a separate page with specific accounts, where contributions can be made to assist the families of the volunteer firefighters Samuel McPaul, Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer, who tragically lost their lives while on the frontline this bushfire season. Donate here.

Victoria’s Country Fire Authority 

People interested in helping firefighters in Victoria can make a contribution through the state’s Country Fire Authority. There are two funds set up – CFA Brigades Donation Fund which allows you to choose which brigade to donate to, or the Country Fire Authority Public Fund, which funds volunteer leadership and development training. Donations link here.

Celeste Barber’s Facebook Fundraiser

Australian comedian Celeste Barber has also made headlines in the past week, with her Facebook fundraiser already attracting over $45 million in donations. After initially being dedicated to The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund, she announced the money would be distributed across all states of Australia. Here is the link.

Wildlife 

The number of wildlife estimated to have died in the bushfire catastrophe has skyrocketed to more than 1 billion, according to ecologists at the University of Sydney and WWF Australia.

WIRES and RSPCA

Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service (WIRES) has a donations page here, while RSPCA has also launched appeals across various states including NSW, Victoria and South Australia. Money raised will help rescue animals affected by the flames to take them to safety.

Australia Zoo

The Irwin family also has an Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital Bushfire Appeal that you can donate to here. Steve Irwin’s daughter Bindi, son Robert, and wife Terri have been actively promoting the Wildlife Warriors fundraising initiative.

“With these funds we are treating immediate patients in need, sending care packs to the front lines of the fire and are building the infrastructure to handle the influx of wildlife to come,” reads a statement on the Australia Zoo Instagram account. 

People Affected 

Salvation Army

With teams on standby to attend to emergency situations across the country, Salvation Army Emergency Services (SAES) relies on donations from the public. 

“Our teams are providing meals to evacuees and frontline responders, and will continue to provide whatever support is needed as the situation develops,” said Major Topher Holland, General Manager Strategic Emergency and Disaster Management. 

Here is the link to make a donation to the Salvos. If you are donating from outside Australia, this is the best link. The website states $125 “can help reach isolated families in an emergency” and $250 “can help provide urgent immediate assistance, like food and shelter”.

Australian Red Cross

The Australian Red Cross’ Disaster Relief and Recovery initiative supports the teams that are responding to emergencies across the country, as well as its evacuation centres for people who are fleeing fire-affected areas. You can donate here.

Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities

This GoFundMe account set up by Yorta Yorta, First Nations man, Neil Morris, has exceeded its initial $500,000 target since its launch six days ago. Morris said the money will help Indigenous communities that have lost their homes or been affected otherwise by the bushfires. 

The money raised will be spent covering critical costs for Indigenous communities including temporary relocation costs (hotel expenses, fuel, rent, medical needs), refurbishment of damaged property, resettling expenses, rental support and replacement of vital items such as clothing and toiletries. 

Ellen DeGeneres’ Australia Bushfire Relief Fund

On Tuesday the 61-year-old announced she had launched a GoFundMe page with a US$5 million target to raise money for firefighting services, wildlife shelters and people affected by the disaster.

“Australia is in an emergency like nothing anyone on earth has seen before,” she wrote on Twitter. 

“Please help. Donate if you can. The loss of homes, and the lives of people and animals is catastrophic.”

Foodbank 

Foodbank is raising money to provide food to those who have lost their homes or had to evacuate as a result of the bushfires. You can donate to Foodbank here.

US musician Lizzo spent time volunteering at Melbourne’s Foodbank on Wednesday, helping package food hampers for those who’ve been affected by the devastating fires.

On Thursday the NSW Rural Fire Service confirmed 1,870 homes had been destroyed, with a further 753 damaged. 

The death toll stands at 26, 10.3 million hectares of land has been burnt, and a billion animals are feared to have perished, thousands of people have been evacuated from holiday beaches.