HELP FOR POULTRY OWNERS
A Wimmera woman has returned from a trip to Gippsland, where she has dropped off feed and equipment for chicken owners.
Sam Clark, who owns the Wimmera petsitting services business and breeds show poultry with her children, said she was already planning a second drop off of feed and supplies.
"In a couple days we pulled together $1695 (worth of) poultry feed and supplies," she said. "We have already dropped off and B & G fire relief are helping us get it down to... the people who need it most and especially the fowls."
FODDER DONATION DRIVE NEEDS DRIVERS
Update 3.30pm Wednesday January 8:
The Victorian Farmers Federation has put the call out for drivers.
After launching a fodder donation drive last week, the organisation now says it urgently requires transport for donations from Horsham, Warracknabeal, Ararat and Hamilton among other areas.
In its latest newsletter, the organisation says: "The Victorian Government has allocated funding to subsidise the cost of fuel for the transport of donated fodder to the Gippsland and Upper Murray bushfire regions. These subsidies are administered by VFF and can be applied to cover up to $6.30/km, to a maximum of $4,000 + GST per round trip."
WARRACKNABEAL, HORSHAM RESIDENTS CHIME IN
Update 12pm Tuesday:
Warracknabeal and Horsham residents have begun a facebook page from which to source donations for food, toiletry, livestock and pet items.
Country Spirit Donation Drive co-organiser Brock Sturrock, of Warracknabeal, said the group of five would travel to Albury on Friday afternoon.
"We will get there on Saturday and stop at a family vet that has been asking for donations of bandages and manuka honey for wildlife," he said. "Then we'll go over to Wodonga to drop off livestock feed: A lot of livestock has been evacuated there as a safe area."
Mr Sturrock said the group, from Warracknabeal, Horsham, Bendigo and Geelong, each had personal connections to the fires in the state's east.
"A good mate of mine's house burned down last week, and she lost everything," he said. "We came up with the idea that we needed to help and we thought getting everyone involved like this was the best way to do so."
Mr Sturrock said the group was taking physical donations as opposed to money at this stage because it wanted to show to Wimmera residents the exact impact their generosity was having.
He said the group hoped to make many more trips to Gippsland in coming months. "We are waiting to get the all-clear from Gippsland Country Fire Authority relief units about when it is safe to travel to them and when they will need more donations," he said.
MITCH CREEK STEPS UP
Update Monday, 12pm:
Horsham's sports stars have stepped up alongside athletes nationwide in their fundraising efforts for those affected by the bushfire crisis.
Mitch Creek pledged to donate $100 for every three-point shot and $200 for every dunk his South East Melbourne Phoenix side made against the New Zealand Breakers on Sunday.
The former Horsham Hornet also auctioned off a pair of custom game-worn shoes for $4,000.
The donations will be split between the Country Fire Authority and the Salvation Army Disaster Appeal fund.
Creek implored others to join him in his fundraising efforts.
"If you can help, jump on board and make a promise with me," he shared on social media.
The South East Melbourne made 10 three-pointers in their 92-97 loss against the Breakers.
Fellow Horsham export Shaun Bruce also played for the cause in the Sydney Kings' 91-77 win against the Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night.
Bruce - alongside Kings teammates Brad Newley and Xavier Cooks - pledged to donate $50 for every point scored to the Red Cross bushfire relief fund.
The former Horsham Hornet's seven-point haul and his teammates' contributions saw $2850 raised for the cause.
Victorian Farmers Federation President David Jochinke said the organisation had received numerous responses from the Wimmera about donations of hay, since putting the call out for these statewide on Friday.
"There has been a lot of fodder donated across the state but this is more a marathon than a sprint: We're going to require hay for a while," he said.
State fund launched
Update Monday 11am:
The state government has begun a dedicated fund to support bushfire survivors. A spokesman said the money in the fund, to which it is contributing $2 million, will be used to cover the costs of items such as groceries and school uniforms.
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan has suggested residents make submissions to a federal government inquiry into the impact of vegetation management policy on bushfires. In a statement, he said submissions could be made until February 28.
Please give funds, not goods
Friday January 3, 3.30pm:
People have been told to only make financial donations to the bushfire appeal unless official requests have been made as charity organisations are bogged down with donations.
Emergency Management Victoria said in a Facebook post that charity organisations were reporting that their volunteers and staff have been occupied with sorting through goods rather than helping impacted communities.
"As Victorians, we're famous for our generosity and willingness to support people in times of need but sometimes that generosity can be misplaced," the post said.
"Please make financial donations only unless official requests are made for specific donations of goods or clothes."
Details of the Bushfire Disaster Appeal could be found at http://emergency.vic.gov.au/relief/#donations.
All donations of $2 or more are tax deductible and donors would be provided with a tax receipt through the Community Enterprise Foundation.
Ararat's Georgia Lawson and Brodie Hunter are collecting donations
Two Ararat residents plan to drive to east Gippsland and personally deliver supplies to fire affected communities.
Georgia Lawson and Brodie Hunter have been driven by compassion and a sense of the Aussie spirit to make the approximate six hour drive to deliver the donated items.
The couple have been busy setting up donation drop-off points for locals to contribute to in Ararat and Stawell, and corresponding with the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund to find out which items are most needed.
"I've seen pictures where they've got tons of clothes and stuff, but (they need) toiletries and stuff," Ms Lawson said.
"People were asking for gift cards from Kmart and stuff like that, so we're just going to keep putting it out there and asking friends and families, and just whatever we can get and they can use.
"I've had one girl message me and she said 'I've got a heap of nappies that are too small for my son now', so I thought yes, people need nappies."
Other items Ms Lawson said were needed included toilet paper, shampoo, pads and tampons, and "anything disposable."
Victoria Police footage from Mallacoota, December 31:
To help coordinate the effort the pair have set up a Facebook page listing drop-off points for donations and other information.
"We've created a Facebook page now and it's called B & G Fire Relief," Mr Hunter said.
Mitre 10 Ararat and the Stawell Library are both drop off points, and the pair will wait and see what is donated, and how the situation evolves, before they make the drive in about a fortnight's time.
"Who knows what could happen in two weeks from now; they've forecast the weather for Friday and it's going to get really bad again and everyone up there is preparing to evacuate," Ms Lawson said.
While neither have personally experienced the direct threat of fire, they said a tough year has created a deeper sense of empathy and getting in touch with the "Australian thing to do"
"I feel like we're that sort of country where if someone's in trouble we all band together to help," Ms Lawson said.
Mr Hunter said he knew that if people in the western part of the state were in trouble the rest of the country would help out.
"While we're sitting on top and not being burned out, we'll help out," he said.
Ms Lawson has memories of watching the fires in the Grampians and said it helped her recognise the severity of the fires in the east.
"I remember living in Stawell when I was younger and they had those really bad fires in the Grampians, and I remember at 4pm in the afternoon the whole sky was orange, and it was so scary," she said.
"But they are nothing compared to Gippsland.
"The photos I've seen on Facebook - they are terrifying."
VFF begins fodder drive
Victorian Farmers Federation President David Jochinke said people could call a 1300 number to log any fodder for livestock available to send over the Gippsland.
"Our immediate concern is utilising fodder closer than what he Wimmera my be in the initial stage - so we can get it there in a timely manner," Mr Jochinke, of Murra Warra, said.
"(Wimmera-sourced fodder) may not be called on immediately, but once we're established and have more of a supply chain set up we will be gathering fro further afield."
"The fire as it's coming through is that hot and intense it's just taking large licks of land. Generally when you see fires like this you will see fingers go in different areas but this is just taking the entire valleys as its passing through and that's where farmers are mainly located."
The fodder line number is 1300 882 833.
What the Red Cross says about helping
Can people donate canned food or other goods?
We really appreciate everyone's generosity but we're unable to accept or distribute donated goods. Our experience with emergencies shows that donations of money, where possible, help affected communities recover sooner. This is because people can make their own choices - including purchasing the goods they need for their own families.
If you have collected goods already, we'd gratefully accept donations of clothing at our retail stores, to on-sell and raise funds to support our work. Visit redcross.org.au/stores to find out more. We know that agencies such as GIVIT are also accepting donated goods but would encourage you to do some research online.
Offers of accommodation for people fleeing the fires to stay in.
It's heart-warming to see how generous Australians are. We've had many genuine offers from people wanting to open up their homes to people being evacuated from the fires.
We're not able to organise home stays for people evacuating the fires at this time. Our focus is on helping as many people as possible to get to public evacuation centres and ensure they have a safe place to sleep with emergency support on hand. These centres can open and close quickly as the fire situation changes.
People who do want to offer support to people in their area in the coming weeks can get in touch with the local councils in evacuated areas in a week or so to see what's happening.
What if someone wants to volunteer to help?
Red Cross and other relief agencies don't send volunteers into emergency situations unless they've passed our checks and completed training. We welcome people who would like to apply to help in the future. We list volunteer roles on our website redcross.org.au/volunteering. You'll need to apply and complete training before we can send you into an emergency response.
How can people help to support Red Cross' work.
Thank you so much! You can get started by registering your fundraising activity on our website:
People can also donate to the Country Fire Authority's appeal here.
To donate money or items to those impacted by fires in New South Wales and Queensland, visit GIVIT here.
Staff at PRD Ballarat are working with Gippsland Farmer Relief to transport food, water and toiletries to the Bairnsdale Relief Centre and families in need of assistance.
Donations can be dropped at PRDnationwide Ballarat at 51 Lydiard Street South Ballarat Central from 9am - 5.30pm on weekdays and 9am - 12pm on Saturday.
Alternatively you can contact Kiara Porra on 0447 834 892 for after hours drop-offs. The goods will be transported by car on Friday, by truck on Saturday and additional trips will be made as required.
Please only drop the below items (items must be newly purchased and only what is on the list, second-hand and other items will not be accepted):
Tinned goods: peas, corn, carrots, soup
Other: water (many are without water, and power therefore pumps are not working), milk - only UHT milk - (dairy farmer supportive - Devondale for example), breakfast cereals, pasta, rice, toilet paper, tissues, pasta sauces, dog & cat food, tuna, tomato sauce, flour, sugar, tea, coffee
Toiletries: Deodorants, shampoos, conditioners, razors, sanitary items, packaged soap, aftershave, toothbrushes, toothpastes
Snack Foods: muesli bars, chips, biscuits (sweet and savoury), lollies.
Dunnstown and Ballan farmers are sending a number of truckloads of hay to fire-affected communities in East Gippsland on Saturday.
They need support from the community and businesses to provide more trucks to load their hay and are asking for donations to fund fuel for the trucks.
They also welcome others to join the convoy if they have a truck and hay to drive to East Gippsland.
Contact Karl Britt on 0409 724 897 for more information.
Ballarat resident Kay Hodgson has started a Facebook page Rebuild Upper Murray to provide a platform for people to find out how they can help the communities of Corryong and Cudgewa recover from the devastating fire.
Rebuild Upper Murray is promoting a Go Fund Me fundraiser to support Cudgewa and surrounding communities pay for generators, solar, food, building supplies, plumbing and electrical materials and other basic supplies.
BUSHFIRE DISASTER APPEAL
THE SALVATION ARMY
- Donate online at salvationarmy.org.au
- Donate by phone on 13 72 58
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox twice weekly from the Wimmera Mail-Times. To make sure you're up-to-date with all the news from across the Wimmera, sign up below.