25 September 2020

GIVIT generates practical support for southeast communities

| Alex Rea
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Caroline Odgers and Richard Walker.

GIVIT’s NSW regional manager Caroline Odgers with Richard Walker from Landmark Braidwood. Photo. Alex Rea.

From generators to Dyson vacuum cleaners, GIVIT is getting much needed help to bushfire affected communities.

GIVIT is a national online charity that connects generous Australians who want to donate items, services or cash to people in need. Since 2009, more than two million items have been donated through the charity, including to people affected by the past summer’s bushfires and COVID-19.

GIVIT’s NSW regional manager, Caroline Odgers, says its key focus is to continue to engage the network of donors to ensure no resident or bushfire-affected community is forgotten.

“Recovery is a long process,” she says. “GIVIT’s service is a crucial component of recovery to ensure communities, charities and local businesses are supported long term.

“While we love providing large items such as beds, fridges and replacement equipment for farmers, some bushfire affected communities are still in the clean-up stage. That’s why donations of generators, grocery vouchers and simple hardware tools are still so important.”

Working with charities and community groups, GIVIT is able to identify genuine need and ensures donations get to people in a way that best supports local businesses and frontline community services.

Scott Barrett outside Braidwood's Bushfire Recovery Centre.

GIVIT’s Scott Barrett at Braidwood’s Bushfire Recovery Centre. Photo: Supplied.

Since January 2020, GIVIT has been working with Braidwood Life Centre to source essential items to support people impacted by bushfires. The charity organisation has sourced donations of warm socks and beanies, fuel and grocery vouchers, water tanks and, more recently, generators.

“It’s not just farmers who are hurting, but entire communities and local economies are struggling,” says Caroline. “It’ll take years for communities to recover so GIVIT is here for the long haul to help get exactly what drought and fire affected communities need – from a laptop for homework, food for working dogs or a butchers’ voucher for the local sports club, always purchased locally wherever possible.

“Whenever I return from the South Coast, I make a point of stopping by to see Maria [Bakas-Booker] at the Braidwood Life Centre. It’s usually just before sunset when we sit outside, chatting about what’s needed, where it’s needed, laughing and crying.

“The work Maria does to give people a hand up in her beloved community of Braidwood is inspiring. She is compassionate, respectful and has a huge heart. It’s a privilege to work with her as we navigate through bushfire recovery together.”

GIVIT delivering a truckload of generators to fire affected communities.

GIVIT delivering a truckload of generators to fire affected communities. Photo: Supplied.

GIVIT is responsible for distributing 400 generators across NSW bushfire affected communities. The donation of generators was arranged by Resilience NSW and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, through the generosity of airline United Arab Emirates.

Last month, GIVIT arranged a delivery of generators to Mongarlowe Fire Station through Maria at Braidwood Life Centre. These generators have also been provided to residents who lost their properties in the area.

GIVIT has also been working closely with Bega-based Sapphire Community Pantry. It has coordinated 110 Dyson vacuum cleaners to Tahmoor, Bemboka, Eden, Cobargo, Quaama, Bega and Wyndham.

“We recently received our first donation of Dyson vacuums,” says the president of Sapphire Community Pantry, Christine Welch. “I contacted the temporarily Bega-based people who lost their homes in bushfires and five minutes later two had gone – one to Caroline Long, who took another one to give to a woman who lost her home.

Caroline Long holding Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Caroline Long with her new Dyson vacuum cleaner. Photo: Supplied.

“Caroline was so chuffed to receive the vacuum. She has five dogs who shed a lot [of fur] and she used to have a Dyson which, along with all of her possessions, went up in smoke. She’s still living in temporary accommodation, but has just had a container delivered to her block which will be repurposed to become her new house.”

Another vacuum went to Letitia, a mum of six kids.

“They’re living in a leaky caravan and tent in Bega because their house burnt down,” says Christine. “Letitia was so very grateful for the vacuum cleaner. She said she has never had a decent vacuum and a Dyson is something she thought she could never afford.”

A spokesperson for Dyson said: “At Dyson, we want to make a genuine difference to people’s lives in bushfire impacted areas as they continue to rebuild – right now and in the future.

“By donating Dyson cord-free and full-size vacuums to families who sadly lost their homes or possessions in NSW, as well as those who suffer from asthma or allergies in smoke-affected areas, we want to help remove fine dust and dirt and help improve wellbeing.”

Caroline Odgers with Con Kindrachuk.

Caroline Odgers with Araluen grower Con Kindrachuk, who lost his home in the bushfires. Photo: Alex Rea.

To date, Dyson has donated more than $600,000 worth of technologies, including purifiers and vacuums to bushfire-impacted Australian communities. This includes 400 Dyson Pure Cool purifying fans that were sent to schools in areas affected by bushfire smoke pollution.

Since January 2020, GIVIT has coordinated more than 250,000 donated items for bushfire affected regions across NSW as part of a partnership with the NSW Government – most items being water tanks, hardware tools, generators and everyday household items for southern NSW towns and remote communities.

One hundred per cent of donated funds that GIVIT receives goes to the purchase of urgent and essential items for Australians in need. The funds are spent with local businesses whenever possible.

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