Extreme weather conditions are battering NSW once again. There are severe rain, wind and flood warnings for Sydney, the Illawarra and the Hunter; an East Coast Low is approaching the coast bringing increased winds and dangerous surf conditions; and the Bureau of Meteorology has issued a moderate to major flood warning for the Hawkesbury, Nepean and Colo Rivers.
If you're wanting to roll up your sleeves and help, we've put together this list of practical ways to do so. Whether you’re able to donate time, money, or goods to help people rebuild, here are just some of the ways you can help those affected by our most recent natural disaster.
Donate Goods And Money
The government’s official partner for donations is Givit, which is a smarter way to donate thanks to their system of matching specific requests and monetary donations with individual and corporate donors. Givit is currently distributing funds across flood-affected areas in New South Wales and Queensland.
As well as the big ones like the Australian Red Cross Society, Vinnies, and the SES, your local charity shops can also divert goods (preferably new or near-new) to those in need, and local animal shelters or hospitals typically get overwhelmed following natural disasters. You'll probably see a lot of individual GoFundMe campaigns on your socials, and you can assist by donating or sharing them yourself so they reach a wider audience.
More incredible local organisations to donate to include Orange Sky Australia (which has deployed their free mobile laundry vans to affected areas), and Share The Dignity, which is coordinating the delivery of sanitary and toiletry products across the region. And you can donate to Foodbank Australia, which is currently accepting financial donations and getting food and water to affected communities.
And people aren't the only ones affected by the floods. Over the past couple of weeks, WIRES has been rescuing possums, seabirds, and orphaned wallaby and kangaroo joeys and transferring them to vets and volunteer carers for urgent assistance. Simply donate here, or look into becoming a WIRES volunteer.
Volunteer For Flood Clean-Up And Support
Donating your time to clean up, fix up, and support is another great way to help out. You can become a spontaneous volunteer with the SES or register as a volunteer with BlazeAid: a volunteer-based organisation that helps rebuild fences and other structures in rural areas impacted by natural disasters.
Crisis Heroes is another great platform that allows you to offer specific skills or services that those in need can call on. If you’re keen to volunteer in your local area, check with your councillor’s office as many are coordinating locals' requests for, and offers of, assistance.
Another hands-on way to offer immediate help is to contact the RSPCA if you’re able to foster an animal— their resources are extremely stretched following natural disasters, and some of their centres have been affected, too. Or, you can simply donate.
You can also opt to volunteer at the newly opened Refettorio OzHarvest Sydney restaurant in Surry Hills, which serves vulnerable Sydneysiders with a gratis lunch every Tuesday–Friday.
Community and personal connections are so important at a time like this, so be sure to keep the door open for those who have been affected, or elderly or vulnerable residents who might not be able to access their usual support network.
This could be as simple as sending a message to someone you know who’s been affected, or just lending an ear if they need to talk about how they’re feeling. Just let them guide you, and be receptive to doing as little or as much as affected individuals, families and businesses need.
Suburban Facebook groups are also a good way to connect with those in need directly, so you could offer your outlets for people to charge devices, to drop off groceries, do loads of washing, or deliver hot meals.
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