Words by Ruth Meighan
I think it’s safe to say that all of us have been affected, either directly or indirectly, by the 2020 bushfires that are still burning. The silver lining in all this devastation is the incredible upswell of support from the Australian and international community.
It really does make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see so many people, from all walks of life, dig deep into their pockets in order to help out those who have lost so much – including such great losses to wildlife.
However, questions have been raised in the media about how much of these funds actually reaches the intended target. It’s a touchy subject and not our role to dig too deep there; instead, we thought we would put together a list of grassroots fundraising activities that aim to support the affected communities directly.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you know of any others.
High Country Comeback
So much of the prolific tourism trade of January was lost when the evacuation notices were given to the North East of Victoria. Visitors to the region had to cancel their holidays and locals had little to no income. High Country Comeback is an event that brings the food, drinks and fun of the High-Country to your doorstep!
On Sunday, Feb 2nd 2020, you can see all that the North East has to offer, with no need to pack the car and get a dog sitter! Head to The Timber Yard, Port Melbourne – Door entry is a donation to the NE Vic local CFA brigades and wildlife rescue organisations.
Showcasing more than just music, Gather Festival (Feb 08 2020), embraces the “sweet life” of the high country, with a family-friendly vibe. Take your mountain bike and enjoy the trails before putting on your dancing shoes and revelling with some delicious ales! You’ll be supporting local musicians, the hospitality industry and boutique crafters.
Hosted by the fire-affected community of Mt. Beauty, come and soak in the beautiful surroundings whilst grooving along to the likes of Dallas Frasca, Sarah McLeod, Richard Perso and many more. Bring the kids, a picnic rug and support this beautiful little town. All profits will go to local emergency services.
Art Aid Gippsland
For a bit of culture whilst on your #roadtripforgood visit the Gippsland Art Gallery in Sale and view the Art Aid Gippsland exhibition (15th Feb – 15th March 2020). Numerous artists have donated works – over 500 in fact! These works will be auctioned at the conclusion of the exhibition.
Entry is free with the auction taking place at 4pm of March 15th 2020 at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre. All funds raised will go to Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund (GERF), supporting those who lost their homes in the devastating bushfires.
King River Brewing
The day before having to evacuate, the brewers at King River Brewing had already added #thankscfa to their barcodes! Now that they are back in the brewhouse and making the most of what’s left of the summer trade, they are allocating 50% of profits from sales of their Summer Ale to the CFA Relief Fund.
Before you head off on your road trip, check out #beerforbushfirerelief to see who else is doing an ongoing fundraiser.
Hitch to the Sticks – Bushfire Benefit
Superjesus Official, Dallas Frasca, Barry Morgan’s World of Organs! Does it get any better? Yes, it does…this family-friendly fest is setting out to raise lots of coin for Victorian Bushfire Appeal and Blaze Aid. 100% of profits from merch and donations on the day plus profits from the event.
But wait, it keeps getting better – kids under 13 are free! If you’re quick enough you can even book the bus and stay overnight in the Mohyu locale – the gateway to the King Valley. This will be a day of celebration, and you can bask in the knowledge that you will be directly helping communities in need.
Since its inception 7 years ago, the Brighter Days Festival has always had community & family support at its heart. A 3-day event combining music, bikes & cars into a family friendly atmosphere.
Initially set up to give support to The Cooper Trewin Memorial (SUDC) Research Fund, DEBRA Foundation and The EB Research Foundation. Every year the foundation looks to give additional funds to those in need and 2020 will see them contributing to the CFA Ovens Valley Group of Brigades – you can support the local bushfire relief effort by purchasing a festival ticket, raffle ticket or merchandise.
Shop 2 Support
A Facebook-based platform for fire-affected businesses to make their presence known. If you’re planning a holiday check out the numerous posts – you’ll find everything from online products to amazing accommodation deals.
The beauty of this platform is you get to directly support the people who are doing it the hardest, which then feeds back into the local community.
It’s My Shout
At a time when East Gippsland should have been booming with tourists, the bushfires were tearing through the landscape. Leaving local business owners with not only the possible loss of their homes, but also their livelihoods.
This is where #itsmyshout comes in. This online initiative creates a way to pay it forward to the many affected small businesses. Purchase a virtual item and know that your donation will go directly to the respective business.
Spend With Them
It’s one thing to donate to a worthy cause, but many retail and produce companies are sitting on stock that they haven’t been able to move due to the bushfire emergency that hit Victoria in January. Inspired by #buyfromthebush a support network for drought-affected areas, “Spend With Them” gives fire-affected businesses the opportunity to showcase their wares to a larger audience.
Highlighting brilliant regional products like, ‘Better than Sex’ brownies from @milchcafebar in Falls Creek Victoria and ‘Memphis Style BBQ sauce @alpinesauceco. These are both perfect examples of the entrepreneurialism required to keep small, family-owned cafes afloat.
Go Fund Me
Even though GoFundMe take a percentage of donations, at the very least you are able to read the personal plights of the individual or organisation. Do a search with the keywords, “bushfire” “Victoria” “wildlife” and see how you can make a difference.