I’ve spent lots of the last few weeks on beaches in Perth – blue skies, clear water – while the rest of our country has been burning. I feel guilty (for being here and enjoying this when others are losing homes, lives and livelihoods); I feel sad. My heart hurts at the scale of this disaster and the fact that the longer it goes on, the more damage is done, and yet the more desensitised we potentially become.
And I feel waves of anger from time to time; not angry about what is happening per-se but angry at some of the responses. The armchair critics playing the blame game when homes are burning (blame, I think, is the one thing that gets my back up in a BIG way), telling others what they could or should have done better and unwilling to make a change on an individual level.
I’ve grappled with the best way to help or contribute, fully aware that aid is needed in some places yet may be a huge hindrance in others; fully aware that there is no quick-fix for this situation. Emotions are high and people are hurting. This is a situation that goes on long after the fires have gone out and it’s 100% down to us ALL to do our bit to create lasting change.
We have a choice to make: we can sit in overwhelm or blame, move back to our armchairs and decide either our individual effort is not enough to count or that it is someone else’s responsibility. Alternatively, we can allow ourselves to feel the enormity of what is happening here in Australia – grieve, cry, reflect (do whatever we need to do to cope) – and then create considered ACTION.
- Consider WHERE your fundraising dollars are going.
- Consider HOW you can support victims of the fires long after they have ended.
- Consider WHAT long-term change you will make in your everyday life that has the potential to create an impact when we all commit to doing the same.
Our family has come up with some ideas already that we will be implementing in 2020 that I will share on my Instagram channel and will be tagging those that have been making the important small changes long before me (think buying a keep-cup is small, but it will save 365 coffee cups that would usually end up as land-fill – they are NOT recyclable).
KNOW every little thing you choose to do adds up and when we are ALL in this together we create a ground-swell toward positive change and that’s exactly what we need here in Australia right now.
As a small gesture in this country’s time of need I have created this list of FIFTY everyday Aussies doing their bit to support others.
I have consciously leaned toward services that are offering a fund-raising element to a service they already offer or are running specific fundraising events, as I truly believe we need to be questioning our consumerism attitudes at this time. They include sustainable product-based businesses that are providing goods that support our environment and also direct links to smaller funds that are not necessarily providing a service but are out on a limb at this time and are in need of direct help.
There are a considerable number of fitness services running awesome events in the coming days and weeks which make sense given fitness is what we do AND it’s a win-win for everyone – you get healthier and help others in the process.
Please do your due diligence on which charities will benefit from your kind offerings so you know where your contribution is going and consider just giving where you can.
1. Justine Coombes and the Dent Global team have been supporting the community of Admirably in the Snowy Mountains cooking for and delivering much-needed but SPECIFIC supplies to those currently fighting fires. The small town is having to evacuate for a second time with more fires coming their way.
Up until now, they have been gathering funds via a direct bank account however they now have a fundraising page where you can donate. Find it here.
2. Clifton Creek Primary School was burned to the ground on 31 December 2019. The community is located a short distance inland from Lakes Entrance in Victoria. In conjunction with the business manager of the school and the Terry Floyd Foundation (that is gathering donations for the rebuild of the school), Kasey Banes is co-ordinating a project to help repopulate their school library. Go here for more information.
3. Gary and Sara raise and care for kangaroos in Cobargo NSW which was totally decimated by fire. In amongst that carnage this amazing couple were back on their property within 48 hours to find everything gone. EVERYTHING! There was nothing left. They arrived with a trailer load of food for their kangaroos and slept in their car as they waited for their family to come “home”. To support Gary, Sara and their Kangaroo’s go here.
4. Wildlife Rescue South Coast is raising much needed funds to help purchase food. They also need funds for vet bills and medication as they expect animals burnt in the fires to come their way for treatment over the coming weeks and months. They will also be setting up feeding stations immediately. This is where local community members can pick up wildlife food and water supplies to put in their front yards to help those animals who escaped the fires but now have no food or water to survive over the next 3-4 months until growth reappears. Go here to help.
5. Business Chicks Australia’s next international speaker Elizabeth Gilbert has made a huge gesture in donating the entire speaking fee of her tour with us to bushfire relief and we’re standing with her. All profits from this national tour will also be donated, plus they will be doing additional fundraising at each event. Get your Elizabeth Gilbert tickets here.
6. Yoga Sanctuary in Mornington, McCrae and Phillip Island’s Smith Beach is doing Beach Yoga and donating 100% of funds to Wildlife Victoria. Details are: Sunday 12 January for Beach Yoga, at Mornington, McCrae and Phillip Island’s Smith Beach, commencing 9:00am. Class suitable for all levels, beginners to advanced, so bring your friends and family. They will also be donating 15% of their profits for the season to bushfire relief. To register for yoga go here.
7. The Fruit Cart will be donating a minimum of $500 to the RFS but would love to give a bit more so this is what’s happening in January: every time someone picks up a TRIAL box, $10 from the purchase will be donated to the cause and on the 31st of January they will double the amount total. They deliver to Sydney’s Inner West and Sutherland shire. Go here to place your order.
8. Two Sides Accounting are offering free individual income tax returns to volunteer fire fighters. They have capacity for about 30 returns. Get in touch with Nat here.
9. Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund are distributing to disaster victims in Gippsland who have been hit hard. The fund provides relief and assistance to persons residing in the Gippsland municipalities of Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Latrobe, Baw Baw, Wellington and East Gippsland who suffer injury, loss, or damage from natural disasters. All donations are tax deductible. Go here to help the people of Gippsland and surrounds.
10. Shelby Jansen and her team at Hyperviolet Designs have decided that in order to help the rural firefighters’ efforts and the people on the front line, this month they are offering free gig posters to all contributing bands or artists. Instead of taking the payment themselves, selling a product and donating a percentage, or requesting contribution to the myriad of fundraising platforms which will take a cut or hold funds in the interim, all they request is that you donate $50 directly to the bank account of the NSW or VIC rural fire services. Please screenshot your payment receipt and send an email to email@example.com with your event info and design requests.
11. Dani’s Delights are donating $4 from every pack of Macaroons sold at Mornington Markets on Sunday 12th January to the CFA and Blaze Aid. Visit Dani’s Delights on Facebook here.
12. Fiona Stubbings of Mind Design Coaching is donating 100% of the proceeds of her book “Warrior Women” to the specific families of the two firemen, Geoffrey Keaton and Andrew O’Dwyer, who paid the ultimate price in the fires. Find Warrior Woman here and funds for Geoffery and Andrew here.
13. Lisa Messenger has been mobilising her community and organising much-needed support for Foodbank and more recently The Rescue Collective, updating followers on specific items that are needed and exact drop-off locations. Her key message: we all have the power to do something so get at it! Find Lisa’s Instagram account here to get up to date with her most recent callouts and how you can support.
14. Cadence Café in Nerang, Queensland is donating 30% of all coffees sold every Monday for the next three weeks to three different bushfire relief organisations – so if you are a Nerang local and drink coffee this has to be your next stop! Find the Cadence Cafe Facebook page here.
15. Sarah Marie Liddle is an erotic identity and archetype alchemist and is currently donating 10% of her income to WWF . If you’re not 100% sure what that is (and I wasn’t either) her website reads: “Want to feel at ease, confident and vibrant in your body, your relationship and all areas of your life?” … It made me keep reading! Get in touch with Sarah via her website.
16. A team of Fitness Professionals in Ocean Grove, Victoria have got together and organised a ‘Bushfire Fundraiser Super Session’ – 100% of proceeds will go to the Salvation Army Bushfire Relief and will be held at Shell Road Reserve, Ocean Grove. Involved Fitness businesses are No Excuses Fitness, Emily Hayward PT & Pilates, The HIIT Project, Rache Hely Yoga, LV Fitness & Movement and Evolve Fitness & Performance. Check out their event on Facebook here and register your attendance.
17. Endurance athlete Samantha Gash has formed Relief Run, a virtual half marathon or 5km run that can be done anywhere in the world on the weekend of the 18th & 19th January. You can run or walk solo or in teams of two and 100% of proceeds will be going to the Red Cross Australia who are helping support those affected by bushfire. Register for Relief Run here.
18. The Keep it Cleaner girls Stephanie Smith and Laura Henshaw have set up a GoFundMe page where all funds raised will go to the Salvation Army. They are personally contributing $1000 for every $5000 raised and are currently working toward a goal of $60,000. Find their fundraising page here.
19. CrossFit Kia Kaha are hosting ‘The Power Hour’ at their Lexington Place, Maroubra Box on Sunday 12th of January at 9am. It will include all of the rowers and ski-ers and participants will be pumping out as many kilometres as they can in the hour. The gym will donate $1 for every KM and will be sending all funds raised to WIRES, supported by one of the owner’s wives who is a vet nurse and a WIRES certified volunteer. They are hoping to crack 2000KMs. To get involved get in touch with Daz via their website here or donate direct to WIRES here.
20. Dan Wagstaff and Tommy Kerr have created ‘Walk from Darkness into the Light’ which is happening this Sunday 12th January in South Cronulla Park. The key message is to bring together the community of The Shire to support their struggling neighbours. It will start on Sunday morning at 5am at South Cronulla Beach – a $20 donation is being asked and participants will walk and clean up the beach. All proceeds will go to NSW RFSA. Donate via their GoFundMe page here and turn up on Sunday morning.
21. For Soul the label who are leading the change in sustainable fashion through working only with suppliers who are committed to minimising harm to our planet; use only 100% renewable, plant-based fibres made from regenerated wood pulp; and whose fabrics are hand-printed using non-toxic and eco-friendly colorants are continuing their 1 sale = 1 tree planted movement and their plant spot will be Australia. Check out their website here.
22. Milton Public School is supporting students and staff members that have lost their homes during bushfires and trying to help make life a little easier for their community at this tough time. A Bendigo Bank account has been opened by principle Mark Thomson for people wanting to donate towards Milton Public School families affected by fires. Funds raised will support students with all educational expenses throughout the year. Head to their Facebook page here for account details and more information.
23. The Robin Hood Hotel in Waverly is hosting a bushfire fundraiser on Saturday 11th January from 12.30-3pm. There will be celebrity appearances, lots of prizes, raffles, one-on-one date auctions and collection boxes as well as all proceeds of food and drink being donated. Their address is 203 Bronte Road, Waverly. Find their website here.
24. Canberra Fitness Centre is offering free training to residents of bushfire affected areas that are currently taking refugee in Canberra. Check out their timetable here and email firstname.lastname@example.org to accept your spot.
25. Sol Cups, hand-blown glass and plastic-free reusable coffee cups and water bottles, are donating 100% of the profit from sales of their Rocket Red SoL Cups to the Rural Fire Service and the Australian Red Cross. Head to the Sol Cups website here.
26. Playful Paws: Training and Wellness for dogs in Bairnsdale right next door to fire affected East Gippsland has opened its doors to offer temporary relief for owners who have no homes or who are currently evacuated or protecting their homes. If you need help or can help contact Playful Paws here.
27. Regional Coaching business Monteck Coaching will be offering Business Recovery sessions free of charge to those affected. Reach out to Shelley Lissington of Monteck via her Facebook page.
28. Sydney Trail Sisters are working with the race directors of Victorian trail running who have come together to donate entries into their events with the aim of raising money for the CFA Public Fund, which funds volunteer leadership and development training. By donating and entering this raffle, you will not only be supporting our volunteer firefighters but you will have a chance to win from the massive prize pool of over 30 races –it’s huge! Enter the raffle here.
29. Base Fitness Studio in Geelong has joined forces with the Thursday Joy Riders and Gazelles Run Groups to help the Corryong community in the marathon recovery ahead of them by raising funds and donating both ‘Cash & a Cup’ to a community doing it tough. If you can help, they would love you to purchase a cup for a child or adult and pop a note of support inside and/or some cash. Note: The funds from every Happy Way Purchase will be added directly to this fantastic initiative. To find out more about this awesome initiative check out this Instagram post.
31. Dimmocks Retreat Wildlife were evacuated twice during the recent fires in Bundanoon: once from their property and then from their evacuation site. Their house was saved but their land has suffered and wildlife have no food. They are taking donations to help with the re-build and to continue looking after the animals in their care. Visit their website, take a look around and donate here.
32. The Australian Cake Decorating Network have instigated #Bake4BushFires and are co-ordinating bake sales across the country. As of yesterday they had 28 Member Bake Sales planned in locations all across Australia in early February. To find out the details of where you can find a sale, contribute or host your own head to their Facebook page or website and get in touch.
33. The 440 Run Club is hosting ‘Walk in the Dark’ on the 12th January. Kicking off at 5am, meet at North Bondi outdoor gym and all proceeds go to the Red Cross – their goal is $20k. Head to their fundraising page, donate and show up!
34. Kyl Raggio Performance is hosting a small group training fundraiser this weekend in his private studio in Randwick. All funds raised will be matched by him and go to the NSW RFS. Check out his Facebook page here and get in touch to book your spot.
35. Mogo Zoo was surrounded in the recent bushfires and needs help to assist injured wildlife. Funds raised will play a vital role in getting Mogo and the surrounding towns on their feet in the coming weeks and months. Visit their fundraising page here.
37. Burrum Buttock Hay Runners is a group founded by Brendan ‘Bumpa’ Farrell, run only by volunteers who take donated hay to drought affected farmers in Australia. With the recent bushfires this is needed more than ever in drought affected areas. Donations can be made here.
39. 9-year old Harvey Smith adopted Anwen the Koala for Christmas through the Koala Hospital, Port Macquarie. He then went on to ask his friends to donate to the Koala hospital to help Anwen and his friends, instead of presents, for his birthday last week. You can help celebrate Harvey’s birthday and support the Koalas here.
40. Local Inner West resident Joan and her daughter are making wraps and Joey bags for orphaned wildlife. They are gladly accepting donations of cotton, flannelette and polyfill. Email Joan here.
41. Legalite, specialising in business and franchise law, is pledging a percentage of its total revenue each month towards a number of bushfire appeals starting from December 2019 up until the bushfires are over. They will then look at how to redirect their funds to help rebuild the environment and communities. Funds they are supporting include The Red Cross, RSPCA, Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and The Salvation Army. Contact Legalite via their website here.
42. The Bellarine Yoga Teachers Collective invite you to come together and help create a space for deep healing. Their gentle outdoor practice aims to help balance those emotions that may come up with all that is unfolding around us. Using the tools of yoga, they will seek to find the strength within us that we need to give strength to others. On Monday 13th January at 6pm, nine different local teachers across five separate Yoga sites will teach one practice to bring us together. 100% of all profits from this event will be donated to the Red Cross and the Bendigo Bank Enterprise Foundation. Bookings can be made here.
43. Help families directly via their individual go-fund-me pages. Natasha Berta lives in Bega and although her home was saved many of those around her weren’t. She has put together an article that links directly to the individual fundraising pages of those who have lost everything and are often uninsured. Go here to find out more.
44. Bootcamp for Bushfire Relief is being hosted in Hoppers Crossing in Victoria by WellFit4Mums, Jump into life PT, Precision PT, Tough Club Fitness and Lizard Fitness. Complete with a burpee finisher! Funds raised will go to the Vic Bushfire Disaster Appeal (an initiative of the Vic Gov, Bendigo Bank & The Salvation Army). Cost is $20 (cash on the day) and all proceeds will be donated. If you can’t make it, pledge a donation and for each $1 pledged your trainers will do 1 burpee. Please RSVP to the event here so the organisers have an idea of numbers.
45. The Birdsville Big Red Bash (which is currently sold out) have made room for 25 more families or couples, and as a result are selling 25 Big Red Bash Bushfire Support family packages with 100% of the proceeds being donated to the Bushfire Crisis. The packages are priced at $2000 which is higher than family tickets were before they sold out, however they will include these special extra benefits: 2-day early-entry pass, prime allocated campsite near the front and a Big Red Bash festival poster signed by the artists. Big Red Bash will also add to these funds by matching $ for $ out of its own funds. Check their Facebook page for more details and to book your spot.
46. Sarah Etherington, a Personal Trainer at Fitness First Deakin in Canberra is offering four week programs for $50 each. Each program will include 2x lower body workouts, 1x upper body workout and a full-body workout. 100% of profits go to the RSPCA animal bushfire appeal. Sarah experienced the bushfires first-hand during her stay in Lake Conjola over Christmas and the New Year. Get in touch with Sarah via her Instagram page here.
47. Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on Kangaroo Island was hit hard by the recent bushfires. Many buildings were lost and it is estimated that 25,000 of the island’s koala population have perished. It will be a long road to recovery. Visit their Facebook page here to get up to date and they have set up a specific fundraising page here where you can offer your support.
48. Western Districts Sports Club on Kangaroo Island lost its clubrooms that contained all trophies, photos, memorabilia and amazing memories dating back to 1964. Members come from all over the island to play football, netball, tennis, cricket and softball. To help them re-build their club they have set up a GoFundMe page here.
49. The Light Collective’s Sian Pascale is hosting Earth Ritual, Mantra, Prayer and Meditation: Red Cross Fundraiser on Sunday 12th January at 6pm (with Live Stream for those who are away) at Rippon Lea Estate – Central Lawns (subject to change dependant on air quality conditions), 192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick, VIC. To register and find out more details head to their Facebook event here.
50. Follyfoot Equine Rescue & Rehab South Coast NSW is in desperate need of feed and fresh water. The property has been mostly burnt and there is no feed left on the ground. The horses are all safe but hungry and they cannot take on any more rescues until they get back on their feet. Any donations, feed and water would be extremely beneficial. Find more details and donate on their Facebook page here.
51. Last, but most importantly, YOU – (I know I said 50 but this one is worth it) YOU get to be the everyday Aussie making a difference in everything that you do moving forward. In every kind word you say. In every hug that you give and sorry that you say. In every purchase that you question before you consume and every choice that you make to use sustainable products and reduce waste. Know that YOU/ WE have the potential to change our whole world when we ALL do the little things.
I’d like to add before closing this post: not one of these people has asked to be listed OR for any kind of call out. Some of them are regular favourite people/businesses of mine and others I’ve never heard of and discovered after talking to Instagram, closed Facebook groups and simply looking around at what a sample of support for what our country is going through looks like.
The need for recognition is low and the key benefit to using a brand or name behind a fundraiser is the networks of loyal humans and the ability to raise awareness more efficiently. The want and desire to give and help at this time is driven from kindness and is to be applauded on every level. I have shed tears whilst researching and have been blown away with the humanity that is currently being displayed.
We may not be able to change what has been but through action and working together we do get to influence the future.
I’d now love to invite you to share this post with your networks on your own pages or by tagging friends in the comments. AND add to it in the comments below more everyday humans that are doing their bit to support our communities at this time.
Photo Credit: Reuters