Thursday, February 26

Handmade Helps - how you can help too

You may have already heard about the great community of people who have put together Handmade Helps for the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.  If you haven't then go see all the ways you can be involved - buy, donate, make, you name it they have it going on.  Yesterday I reopened my dusty little etsy store and listed two fabric tote bags with all proceeds going to Wildlife Victoria.  Check them out, and other people's goods you can buy here.

Wednesday, February 11

How to help - Victorian Bushfires

I collated this information at work today for our clients but thought there might be others of you out there who find this useful.

Below is some of the latest information to come out from the relevant aid agencies regarding donations and assistance for the Victorian Bushfires.

Red Cross response (9am, 11 February)
  • Over 160 lives lost with the number expected to increase as authorities access more homes and discover vehicles in which people attempted to escape the fires.
  • Two centres in the Beechworth area were re-opened Monday night with fires and ember strikes threatening the area.
  • The Red Cross enquiry centre is continuing to receive a large volume of calls from people concerned about family and friends and we are seeing an increase in calls from overseas as international news services relay the news.
  • There are still significant numbers of people registering with us so that family and friends can check on their wellbeing. One whole community that was surrounded by fire but spared, came forward to register with us late Monday so their loved ones know they are ok.
  • Over 400 volunteers and staff continue to work in shifts, Red Cross call centres in WA, ACT and NSW have opened to help deal with the volume of calls from people checking on the welfare of evacuees.
  • Red Cross will not deduct any funds from this appeal for administration costs. All funds received will be kept in a Trust Fund set up by the Victorian Government.
  • The Red Cross is not accepting material donations – please see the information below for details of where to take material goods.

From the State Government & Associated Agencies
  • People should ring 1800 727 077 or email only if they are unable to contact someone in the affected areas.
  • Financial Donations to The Bushfire Appeal Fund by calling 1800 811 700 or go to the website at:
  • Commercial Donations Large commercial donations should be offered to the Victorian Bushfire Public Accommodation Donation Line Call: 1800 006 468. 8am - 8pm.
  • Volunteers People wishing to donate their time should contact Go Volunteer on 1300 366 356 or register on their website at:
  • Accommodation People wishing to donate accommodation should contact the Victorian Bushfire Public Accommodation Donation Line by calling 1800 006 468. 8am - 8pm.
  • Blood donations The Australian Red Cross Blood Service is not presently calling for emergency donations. Nonetheless, the Blood Service encourages all Victorians wanting to assist possible victims of this weekend's bushfires to call 13 14 95 or use the online registration form at the Blood Service website to make an appointment to donate blood in the coming and days and weeks. These pledges will ensure blood stocks remain at safe levels, including additional coverage for use by burns and other victims resulting from this weekend's bushfire emergency.
  • Fundraising If you want to hold a fundraiser, please contact the fundraising department of Red Cross in your state or territory. please be patient if it takes some time for your call to be returned, we are receiving a large volume of enquiries. If your fundraiser is approved, you will be asked to read and follow the requirements of the community fundraising kit, downloadable from the Red Cross website.
  • Assistance with Horses If you are not in an area that is under threat and think you can offer assistance please complete the Offer of Assistance after Victorian Bushfires form on the Project Hope Horse Welfare Victoria website:
From St Vincent de Paul Society:
  • Financial Donations Call: 13 18 12 Online:
  • Donation of Goods Victorian Disaster Appeal Warehouse Lot 7 Henderson Road, Rowville Open- Mon to Fri 8am – 8pm and Sat 8am – 4 pm *Communities affected are particularly in need of large size clothing (XXL) for men and women, new underwear & socks. Personal toiletries such as baby dummies, baby bottles, baby formula, nappy wipes, sanitary products, deodorant etc.
  • Donation of Food Vic Relief Foodbank 4/2 Summerville Road, Yarraville Call: 9362 8300 *Non-perishable food items please
  • Housing Assistance If you can offer emergency housing please call or email:   Call: 9895 5800 Email: reception

From the Salvation Army

The Salvation Army’s Salvos Stores in Victoria will be providing clothing and other goods to assist those affected by the Victorian bushfire through its Emergency Relief Program.

Salvos Stores are currently using existing stock to support those in need; ensuring people have access to a full range of goods including new items. Members of the public wanting to make donations of goods, in new or as new condition, can be made to any Salvos Store in Victoria.

The Salvation Army is seeking donations of clothing, bed linen and furniture that will be passed on to those coming in for assistance.

“We are accepting donations from the Victorian public which will be held in stock reserves and distributed when required. In the meantime current stock in our stores will be provided to communities in need”, said Allen Dewhirst, CEO of Salvos Stores.

Donations, accepted at all Salvos Stores in Victoria, will ensure we maintain a constant supply of in demand items. We request that donations are taken to Salvos Stores during normal trading hours to reduce the risk of theft of donations left outside stores. Most Salvos Stores trade six days a week and some open on a Sunday to receive donations. For larger donations please call 13 SALVOS (13 72 58) to arrange collection.

· Since the weekend 225 Salvation Army Officers, personnel and volunteers in 16 teams worked along side emergency service crews and devastated communities. Providing chaplaincy support to those assisting with emergency and also for those families and individuals who are in shock from the enormity of the disaster.

· Across Victoria The Salvation Army is heavily involved in the response phase of this emergency, assisting those with emergency accommodation, clothing and goods, toiletries and providing catering for firefighters and bushfire victims. It is estimated that over the last four days The Salvation Army has provided more than 7,000 meals.

· We are working out of Whittlesea, assisting those fighting the fires in the Kinglake Complex. We are also supporting the many people who have suffered great loss of life and possessions. For those who have lost loved ones The Salvation Army is offering emotional support through a team of Chaplains here, helping to support them through this extremely difficult time. For the last four days the team at Whittlesea have been providing three meals a day to around 500 people, we will be here as long as it takes to help this community get back on its feet.

· Our team in Wallan cooked breakfast for people each morning with support of local businesses. They are offering emotional support to those who are now coming back to their houses to see what is left. We are hearing stories from people who are left shell shocked, just yesterday afternoon a lady came to John, one of the Salvo team there, she had lost everything except her cat.

· In Horsham Captain Allan Morrison is working with proud farming families who have lost everything. These are people who struggle to get by and rarely ask for help. Now without any food or clothing they are turning to the Salvos for help.

· The Healesville community is dealing with fires edging closer to the town. Here Captain Clint Castley is arranging transport for residents away from the area and preparing for a massive demand for support and assistance once people are able to return to their homes.

· Major Brain Rowe is working with the people in the Traralgon and Moe assembly centres. He is finding accommodation in near by hotels and motels for people who have lost their home and have nowhere to go.

· Yesterday in Warragul Captain Daniel Templeman was supporting those who were returning to assess the damage. The team is busy helping people change linen, providing toiletries and taking calls. Although the alert here has finished and there are minimal losses The Salvation Army here will still need to support the community emotionally as they deal with the disaster.

· These stories are not isolated, right across the state Salvation Army teams are at work ensuring the bushfire victims and emergency service teams are looked after. Whatever the need may be in the community we are working hard to try and meet it.

· The Salvation Army Overdale Rural Rehabilitation Centre in Kilmore has been razed to the ground by the destructive fires in the area. This facility has provided vital rehabilitation services to hundreds of Victorians since its establishment six years ago. It has been totally destroyed, along with vehicles, equipment and medications. Thankfully, and most importantly, the residents had been evacuated on Saturday afternoon and were not harmed.

· The coming days will be critical and it is expected that the fires may take several days to control and extinguish. The Salvation Army will move towards the recovery phase in the next few days, working with the affected communities to help them rebuild their lives.

I know this is a lot of information but so many of us want to help in whatever way we can.  For those of you overseas the phone numbers given are for local calls, but you can visit websites if you would like to make a donation.