The loss Australia has suffered over the last few months has been heartbreaking.
At least 28 people have been killed by the fires nationwide and over half a billion animals have been injured or killed in New South Wales alone.
However, among the devastation the fires have brought Australia, it is heartwarming to see the overwhelming support given by communities, businesses and individual people, both within the country and worldwide.
How can you lend a hand?
There are a number of ways you can show your support and help out those who have been affected by the fires.
One of the best things you can do right now is donate money directly to a charity. The reputable charities that we recommend are the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army, and state based brigades like South Australia’s Country Fire Service, Victoria’s Country Fire Authority and the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.
According to the NSW Office of Emergency Management, donating money through these official appeals and registered funds is the best way you can help as it allows people to choose exactly what they need and supports local businesses.
While donating things like food and clothing may sound like a great idea, affected communities often do not have anywhere to store these goods and can quickly become overwhelmed. Some local communities are still in need of food, water and other supplies, however, donating money is still the best way to address these issues.
Selling secondhand, pre-loved goods and using the money raised could be an option for those without spare money to give.
Support local businesses
Among the devastation caused by Australia’s bushfires, many local businesses are suffering too. However, there are great organisations and campaigns which are working towards making sure these businesses are being supported during this time.
Buy From The Bush, which was originally set up to support communities affected by drought, is now profiling businesses who are in areas of fire. By purchasing from these fire-affected businesses, you are not only supporting local business but also the rural economy.
Spend With Them is another social media campaign helping bushfire affected small businesses. The campaign works as a way to put money directly back into the pockets of the people and communities of fire-affected towns.
Visit safe communities
Several social media campaigns including, Emptyesky and Roadtripforgood, are also encouraging people to visit communities that are safe. For many of these usually touristy towns, business is slow and shaping up to be a quiet summer season.
Volunteering your time
While the Red Cross does not send volunteers into emergency situations unless they have completed satisfactory training, the charity is welcoming people to apply for the future.
However, if you live close to affected fire areas, checking in on local community Facebook pages and volunteering your help in other ways may also be an option.