"This crisis is much bigger than any of us, and for some of us, each other is all we have. As volunteers ourselves, it’s natural that we want to find ways to help."
- Neville Tomkins, Scouts NSW Chief Commissioner
Following the worst drought in living memory, as flames tear through large parts of our continent, our thoughts are with all those families, and communities, who are being directly affected by the catastrophic bushfires and the sustained drought.
Emergency services, fire-fighters and charity workers are providing round-the-clock support. Indeed, the defence of our precious, fragile land is being sustained almost entirely by volunteers. The stamina, dedication and sacrifices being made by the RFS and emergency services are simply extraordinary. Many also volunteer for Scouts NSW. They are true heroes.
This is what community feels like. This crisis is much bigger than any of us, and for some of us, each other is all we have. As volunteers ourselves, it’s natural that we want to find ways to help. Baden-Powell once said, “You can’t afford to spend money on your own luxuries when there are people around you wanting the necessities of life.”
Monday 6th January 2020 sees the launch of the NSW Chief Commissioner's Emergency Relief Campaign. We’re going to do everything we can to assist Scouting families who are being impacted by bushfires or drought.
Family Support Fund
The Family Support Fund was set up to help young people facing hardship to attend their local Scout group. Once the immediate bushfire crisis is over, the Scouts NSW Family Support Fund will serve as part of a long-term rebuilding process, helping our Scouting friends affected by the fires stay connected to the community they cherish.
For those of you who wish to donate money to this cause, you can donate by PayPal, or with a credit card. If neither suits, you can transfer your donation directly to Scouts NSW (BSB 032 000 Account 001472). Please remember to give your details so we can issue a receipt, and add ‘for the FSF’. Your contribution is tax-deductible and will make a direct, meaningful impact.
Our Family Support Fund is a fund designed by Scouts to be used for Scouts. We know that right now, our role in the community is more important than ever. The skills for life we instil in our youth members - resilience, confidence, initiative, maturity - are critical for those facing immediate crisis, but importantly, they also nurture the leaders of our longer-term future. You can learn more about the Fund here.
Neville Tomkins, the NSW Chief Commissioner, will also be conducting a fundraising auction on Saturday 15 February during the Chief Commissioner’s Council weekend meeting. Every dollar raised will go directly to assist bush fire and drought affected families. You might like to donate unique and attractive items or experiences for this auction. If we receive a sufficient number of offers, we will run an on-line auction as well. Please contact the Emergency Relief team on firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to donate or participate.
Our Rovers have also designed a fundraising badge, which we hope will become a collector’s item. The special badge can be ordered through our NSW Scout Shop www.sctscouts.org.au/shop/. Badges will be dispatched from mid-February.
Of course, there are so many other ways you can help those in need as well as the affected Scouting community. We have compiled a list of ways you can help, from donating money and items to volunteering and other practical ways to do your bit.
Other Ways to Donate
NSW Rural Fire Service
Donations made to the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) or your local Rural Fire Brigade, directly benefit heroic volunteer firefighters as they risk their own lives to save others.
Give requested essential items or money to purchase essential items, such as food and grocery vouchers, fuel, generators, fencing, tools, shipping containers and water tanks.
As the bushfires worsen, Lifeblood will require more blood donations. Find out if you are eligible and book an appointment to give blood by clicking below.
Some Practical Ways to Help
Open Your Home
AirBnb is offering free emergency housing to those who need a place to stay. House displaced residents and emergency services personnel by listing your home free of charge.
Save water so it can be used for the fire relief efforts. Brush your teeth with the tap off; reduce your washing by one load a week; take shorter showers; use ‘grey’ water to keep your plants alive.
Learn and Educate
Learn about bushfires and how to create an evacuation plan. In the meantime, help clear debris and dry leaves from around your Scout Hall and local community.
Working alongside rural families, volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed. Equally important, volunteers also help to lift the spirits of people who are facing the impacts of fires or drought.
An estimated 800 million animals in NSW have been affected since September 2019. You can help Australian wildlife by making a donation to or even volunteering with WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue.
You could assist those who are rebuilding their homes with property cleaning, debris removal and locating important personal items. Samaritan's Purse also distributes Fire Recovery Kits to assist with these tasks.
Quilts of Love for Fire Victims
Every person deserves the hug of a quilt. Hand-made quilts from around Australia, distributed to those affected by the current devastating fires in Australia.
Help at Evacuation Centres
You could run games to entertain kids (wide games, indoor games, circus skills, Gang Show skits), take pets for a walk, help prepare meals, serve food and drinks, clean the facilities, wash dishes or sort donated items.
Foodbank Australia delivers emergency food relief and water to those affected by the bushfire crisis. You can help by donating non-perishable foods and grocery items to go to affected communities.