Bushfire Appeal at Masses for Australia Day weekend

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Entire towns such as Cobargo have been razed in bushfire regions PHOTO: CNS/REUTERS

A special collection will be taken up at Masses across the country this Australia Day weekend for the St Vincent de Paul Society’s bushfire appeal. At least 30 people have died across the country since the bushfire season began, with nearly 6000 buildings destroyed and over 18 million hectares of land burned in the fires.

The St Vincent de Paul Society says money raised through the bushfire appeal will be directed towards helping individuals affected by the fires, whether though providing them with clothing and blankets, groceries, furniture or through counselling services.

St Vincent de Paul Society members Bill Baragry, Liz Royal, and Marlene McWilliams supported locals at Forster St Vincent de Paul in the early days of the bushfire crisis back in 2019 – even while their own homes were threatened by bushfires. PHOTO: Vinnies NSW

Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP has encouraged parishioners to support the appeal if they are able to do so.

“Through this appeal, you can offer real hope to a family left traumatised by the fires or struggling to cover unexpected bills”, Archbishop Fisher said.

The St Vincent de Paul Society has assured donors that all funds raised through the appeal will be used to support the people impacted by the fires. The charity has been busy distributing food, clothing and bedding in fire-affected communities and its volunteers will be supporting communities in the long months of recovery ahead of them.

Archbishop Fisher with St Vincent de Paul Society represenatives Sydney President Mr Tony Cranney (left) and NSW President Mr Peter MaccNamara (right) PHOTO: Giovanni Portelli

So far, the charity has raised $12.5 million with $2.4 million already distributed in the space of a few weeks and a further $250,000 already processed for distribution in coming days.

Vinnies emphasises that the distribution of the donations is continuing and  no administration fees are taken from the appeal money, meaning the money raised would go directly to the relief and recovery effort. It expects the distribution of donor funds to speed up as the needs of more communities are established over coming weeks.

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