Maddie (Donaghy) Francis
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  • Writer's pictureMaddie

Bushfire Appeal still going strong, but we need more help!

Updated: Jan 16, 2020

The 2019/2020 Australian bushfire crisis has touched so many of us. We personally, like so many other Australians have had many family, friends and neighbours caught up in the fires and the statistics of just how much of our beautiful bush, wildlife, buildings, businesses, livelihoods, homes and sadly far too many human lives have been lost is astronomical.

At NICU Cheer HQ we are just a single income family struggling to makes ends meet, so I did not feel we would could donate enough money (although we gave what we could to the CFA) to make any substantial impact so we set about helping out the best way we can - rallying people together to drop off donations for our suppliers Pinchapoo, who do tireless work year round supplying those in need with essential toiletries to help people face their challenges with dignity. During this most recent Victorian bushfire crisis they have distributed 13K of their grab&go Essential Sanitary Items kits with the total including last year's fire zones in northern states a staggering 27K - yes 27 THOUSAND packs that have gone out to those in need. Pinchapoo supplied the families who were evacuated from Mallacoota on the Royal Australian Navy Boats with packs too.

We are happy to be playing one very small part in that. On Saturday 4th January I put out the call on my the local community pages and Buy Swap Sells on Facebook for donations of essential sanitary items such as razors, toothbrushes/paste, shampoo/conditioner, soap, sanitary pads etc, this was just before lunch. By that evening we had so many donations we'd run out of surface + floor space in our entry/dining/lounge room. By Sunday morning we had to get a convoy of cars to relocate to the local footy clubhouse at Watsonia Sporting Club thanks to the efforts of Jodie whose son plays for the club and whose husband that very weekend was off fighting the fires in Bright. Thank to the Watsonia Football Club for donating us the use of their clubhouse without even thinking, they were wonderful.

The donations continued to flood in throughout Sunday, all afternoon and into the night as a team of volunteers all generously gave up their time to help me go through, sort and pack all of the items into categories ready to go to our suppliers.

We wrapped up just before 7pm, but the goods kept coming all night and by Monday lunch time I had to secure a MOVING VAN to take it all out to the Pinchapoo warehouse in Bayswater as there was now well over 100 boxes containing tens of thousands of individual toiletries bound for the bushfire zones.

The company I rang about the removalist truck were absolutely brilliant - Prescott Removals from Bundoora, did not hesitate to donate me both the use of one of their big trucks and one of their men to help me deliver the truckload of goodies with boxes full of:

Razors Soaps Shower gels Toothbrushes Toothpaste Kids toothpaste Shampoos Conditioners Sanitary Pads

Roll on deodorants Body lotions Nappies Wet wipes Medical kits & much more!!

The donations have slowed, which is a shame and due largely in part to the Premier Daniel Andrews saying "no more donations" which was a necessary message as we do understand other services are being overrun with unsolicited donations they cannot use, although not an entirely accurate message, as our friends at Pinchapoo for example are just one organisation on the ground who cannot keep up supplies for their very much in demand right now packs and who desperately still need more so that they can continue to help more people.

Pinchapoo's focus has now shifted to long term support for communities recovering from the bushfires and so they will also now be supplying full size toiletries into packs such as the picture above that will be made available to families in affected areas via schools, GPs, hospitals, community centres, health nurses etc. As they continue to help those in need so do we and so we have placed a more permanent, weather proof donation bin at our front door and the donations are still rolling in. If you would like to help please contact us for details of the drop off location or you can donate now for us to purchase goods on your behalf via the PayPal links on our website, just use "Bushfires" in the reference section. Thank you to all who have donated already + HUGE PRAISE & THANKS to the volunteer firefighters of Australia and other emergency services who have been working tirelessly this summer doing us all so very proud.

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