With much of NSW and Queensland bracing itself for catastrophic fire conditions today, many of us are left wondering how we can do our bit to help.
Here are four practical things you can do that will make a big difference to those who are displaced, injured or who lose their homes and belongings.
Recycle your old bottles and cans: Instead of putting your cans and plastic bottles in regular your recycling bin, separate them and place in a TOMRA reverse vending machine. TOMRA and Rural Aid have teamed up to create a new initiative Bottles for the Bush to assist in raising $250,000 for bushfire and drought relief. Every eligible drink or can donated through these machines will go towards the delivery of hay, water, live stock feed and food supplies. Every 10 cents donated helps, providing relief to Australian families that are doing it tough over the Christmas and New Year period.
Donate blankets and clothing: With many families fleeing their homes at short notice, there are people in evacuation centres who only have the shirts on their backs. If you have any unused blankets and clothing lying around the home, you can donate it to evacuation centres through charities like Vinnies and Salvos. These organisations will also appreciatively accept food, living and bathroom essentials and cash donations to give to families in need.
Open your home to pets: All creatures big and small need somewhere to stay during bushfires and droughts. Across social media you can register your interest to give a range of animals places to stay during bushfires. Pets can stay overnight or even just for a couple hours. You can also register to help evacuate and transport cattle and horses. Visit the Fire Evacuation Pet Assistance NSW to register your interest.
Donate to people in need: The Queensland Government have partnered with GIVIT to provide emergency relief to people affected by the fires. Charities are able to list the items that are needed and they are matched online with donations from generous people all over Australia. GIVIT aims to preserve the dignity and privacy of people accessing support, so the donor and recipient never meet.