Posted: 16 January 2020
Since the unprecedented bushfires began tearing through our country, one question has been on everyone's lips — what can we do?
Relief agencies are inundated with offers. Many organisations don't even have the capacity to train or coordinate everyone offering assistance at the moment.
But we know the job of recovery and rebuilding will be long. And we know worsening climate change means more violent bushfires, floods and storms ahead that will create new needs.
So there is one thing we can do now. We can pledge our help for the long road ahead.
A search of Facebook and Tourism North East reveals a number of platforms designed to enable people to support bushfire affected communities:
Road Trip for Good
This online platform has been developed by Alpaca, a business working already with the tourism industry to provide interactive travel maps, trip planning and itineraries. Some elements of the site are still in development, but it allows users to create their own itineraries, share with others and download printable references.
How to get involved: Visit their website roadtripforgood.org.au to add your own business listing. Share the Instagram page @roadtripforgood and use the hashtag #roadtripforgood on your Instagram postsVisit their website roadtripforgood.org.au to add your own business listing.
SPEND WITH THEM @spendwiththem
South Coast locals Turia Pitt and Grace McBride developed this Instagram page to help rebuild businesses affected by the fires, by profiling the individual businesses and linking to their own channels. Less than a week after its creation, the page has over 164,000 followers and growing by the day. Whilst based in NSW, the page profiles all bushfire-affected areas and has already featured Ringer Reef Winery in Porepunkah.
How to get involved: Submit your business for inclusion by emailing email@example.com. Use the hashtag #spendwiththem on your Instagram posts so consumers can find you when browsing that hashtag.
EMPTY ESKY @emptyesky
Created by two Melbourne locals, this campaign encourages people to visit affected areas with an ‘empty esky’ - i.e. supporting retailers and producers by way of people hitting the road and spending money along the way. The Instagram page has over 10K followers and was created less than a week ago.
How to get involved: Send your information to firstname.lastname@example.org Please note that they will not have a chance to check content with you prior to posting, so please send what you’re willing for them to share. Follow the @emptyesky Instagram page and share with your followers, friends and family, and post a social media pledge with their template.
Shop 2 Support
Shop 2 Support is a public Facebook group started by Leah Rinaldi where local businesses affected by the fires can post information for people looking to support local communities. Leah's introduction gives examples including "tell us the brands of milk to buy to support your dairy in an area that was hit by the fires. Share with us your local small businesses website from a fire affected area so we can purchase online with you. Tell us about your tourist attraction or accommodation venues that are safely reopened to the public, so we can plan a visit to come and support you."
This is a good site to join and share as a supportive member of the public wanting to purchase local goods and services and assist areas devastated by the bushfire crisis. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/S2SBFC/