‘Presents’ of mind in bushfire recovery
Ravaged homes, distraught, displaced people and injured wildlife have been constant images recently reminding those fortunate to live out of danger about the plight of others.
Working out how you can help is not as hard as you might think. Online charity GIVIT is calling for all donations in relation to the devastating Queensland bushfires to be registered through its website, givit.org.au, as part of its Queensland Fires 2019 Appeal.
Working with the Queensland Government, GIVIT is managing donated funds and all offers of items and services following destructive fires in several locations across the State. GIVIT is also working with services in New South Wales affected by bushfires.
GIVIT Queensland manager Jo Beadle says uncoordinated donations can hamper services on the ground and she implores well-meaning people to reconsider the way they give to those in need.
"Through the online GIVIT platform there are several ways generous seniors can support communities impacted by natural disasters, and indeed households facing everyday hardships," Jo said.
"To immediately help devastated communities, we encourage cash donations, as 100 per cent of funds GIVIT receives are used to purchase essential items to assist recovery efforts. You can also donate quality items, those you'd be comfortable giving to a friend or family member, via our website that lists all the requests for items by postcode."
While some people have lost all their possessions in the bushfires, it is cash, not replacement items, that is the best way to help in the first days and weeks after a disaster.
"Cash is king in terms of donations," Jo said. "It allows people to be flexible and purchase specific items that are needed on the ground.
"When people return to their homes after being evacuated, it often takes time to identify what's damaged and needs replacing. In this period, cash donations allow GIVIT to purchase vital vouchers from local businesses to ensure households can afford essentials like groceries, fuel for their cars, and clean clothes.
"As households recover from natural disasters, requests are often for whitegoods and appliances, as well as simple kitchen items."
Australians are known for their generosity in times of disaster, but sometimes this sees unsolicited donations dumped on the doorsteps of charities, evacuation centres and emergency services, hampering frontline resources.
"GIVIT implores well-meaning donors to reconsider how they give support, and to go to givit.org.au to ensure donations get to exactly where they are needed when they are needed," Jo said.