Australia is burning. Right now a significant portion of our state is experiencing unprecedented bushfire activity and many Melburnians are wondering what they can do to help bushfire victims.
See below for where you can donate or offer support or services. We've also put together a list of fundraisers, events and activities that you can be a part of as well – see some of our favourites below.
Donating money is one of the best ways to help those affected by the fires. The local Victorian government has set up a Victorian Bushfire Appeal in partnership with Bendigo Bank and the Salvation Army. One hundred per cent of donated funds will go directly to local communities affected by the fires.
You can donate directly to the Country Fire Authority’s (CFA) bushfire disaster appeal which will support those affected by the fires in East Gippsland and North East Victoria. You can also donate to the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund, a registered charity that provides immediate short-term funds to Gippslanders.
The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is calling for donations to their Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund, which makes grants to local not-for-profit groups and helps support community leaders in implementing change in their community.
The Red Cross is also accepting donations, and there is a fire relief fund especially for First Nations communities affected by these tragic circumstances.
There are a number of fundraisers, events and activities that you can be apart of as well. See more below.
We understand that donating money isn’t always possible for everyone. If so, the Red Cross has urged people to consider donating blood if you are able to. Booking in is very simple and you can do so here.
Premier Daniel Andrews made a statement urging Melburnians to donate money, as opposed to food and clothing, simply because there just aren’t enough resources available to sort through these items or get them out to the affected communities.
If you have purchased food items in the hopes of getting them to the affected areas, you can drop them off at Foodbank, Victoria’s official emergency food and water relief organisation. Foodbank Victoria is accepting bottled water, UHT milk, good-quality tinned food (with ring pulls), cereals, pantry staples like pasta, plus items that are easy to grab and go, like muesli bars. They are also accepting pet food. You can drop off your items to Foodbank Victoria at 4/2 Somerville Road in Yarraville. They are open 10am-5pm.
Foodbank Victoria are accepting monetary donations as well which will go towards purchasing food items in bulk. You can donate to Foodbank Victoria’s bushfire emergency relief appeal here.
Bushfire fundraising events in Melbourne
While there might be fierce political arguments breaking out over the cause of the current bushfire crisis and our response, there's one thing we can all agree on: fire bad. That's why a group of leading Melbourne comedians are joining together for a one-off Fire Bad Comedy Gala, in support of the Australian Red Cross. The line-up includes some of our absolute faves: Joel Creasey, Becky Lucas, Nazeem Hussain, Claire Hooper, Rhys Nicholson and more. Tickets are just $40 and are on sale now.
Some of the biggest names in the Australian music industry are coming together for a massive bushfire relief concert in Melbourne. Down To Earth – A Fire and Climate Relief Concert is coming to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl this February for a one-day benefit event with a five-star line-up. Already confirmed to perform are Angus and Julia Stone, Gang of Youths, Tash Sultana, Briggs, Thelma Plum, Jack River and Ruby Fields. All profits from the concert’s ticket, bar and merchandise sales will be donated to the Red Cross and WIRES.
Byron Bay-bred busker turned worldwide chart-topper Tones and I is performing a bushfire benefit concert this month. Tones will be performing with Adrian Eagle and more special guests on Tuesday, January 28 at 170 Russell in the city. All proceeds from ticket sales and merchandise sold on the night will be going towards Red Cross Disaster Relief, RFS and the CFA. Tickets are available here.
Fisherman Bruce Collis is teaming up with chefs Josh Niland and Hugh Allen and the team at Vue de Monde for a bushfire fundraiser. On Monday, January 20, you can head along to a one-off fish and chips lunch at Vue de Monde with all funds raised going towards the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund. It will run from noon until sold out and is only available for walk-ins. Head to Vue de Monde’s website here.
While there's very little that's funny about the bushfire crisis that's unfolding around the country, a good laugh might be exactly what some of us need right now. If you can have that laugh while supporting bushfire relief? Even better. A huge line-up of Melbourne comedians are joining together on Monday, January 20 for this charity gala in support of the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. Joining the bill is Hannah Gadsby, Wil Anderson, Dave Hughes, Judith Lucy and more.
On Sunday, January 19, folks from Heartbreaker, Black Pearl, Ends and Means, the Rum Diary Bar and Hats and Tats will be heading behind the bar at the Mill House on Flinders Lane for a very special fundraiser. Each bar will be serving up its own signature cocktail for $16, Boilermakers for $16, as well as beers and wines for $9. All of the proceeds for the day will be going to the Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery. There’s no strict cover charge, but you are invited to donate as much as you wish upon entry.
Footscray bar Mr West is teaming up with some generous suppliers for a fundraising event on Saturday, January 18. They’ll be raising money to support the brave firefighters and those affected by the bushfire crisis. There will be a special menu of beers, ciders, wine and spirits (including Hop Nation, Tallboy and Moose, the Hills Cider Company, Yugen Wines and Savant Spirits) with all proceeds donated to the Victorian CFA and Wildlife Victoria. More info here.