Thanks to the generosity of a nation, the Uniting Church Bushfire Disaster Appeal has cracked the $2 million mark.
Nine months after Australiaâ€™s worst natural disaster ravaged the state, donations continue to roll in to support community rebuilding for the many left displaced by the Black Saturday bush fires.
The Uniting Church is grateful to more than 5000 donors who have shown their support and understanding of the ongoing commitment needed to sustain the financial and emotional wellbeing of the affected communities.
â€œIt really is a mark for us to say thanks for all the ongoing donations weâ€™ve had. They havenâ€™t ceased since February and half of the donations have come from outside Victoria,â€ said Appeal director, David Hickey.
â€œOur aim is to walk alongside the community in order to see the recovery take place. Even though weâ€™ve raised $2 million, many recovery programs will take over two to three years so we need continual support to get people properly back on their feet,â€ he said.
Uniting Church president Alistair Macrae said he is delighted but not surprised at the generosity of the churchâ€™s donors. â€œAnd I’m delighted but not surprised by the wise use of these resources in alleviating immediate need, but also addressing long term support and healing,â€ he said.
More than $1.6 million has been distributed to date with appeal donations going to long-term initiatives, including family and youth programs and counselling services, no-interest loan schemes and respite for families in the bushfire affected areas.
Funds are also being allocated to pastoral care, property and goods recovery and a percentage has been used for initial emergency response.
With bushfire season upon us again, the remnants of last summerâ€™s disaster are still clear throughout much of Victoria and in the memories of those in the affected areas.
Click on the October Bushfire Disaster Appeal Update here, to read the stories of the experiences of those affected and how donations have been used to repair their lives.
Hardcopies of the newsletter are available upon request by free calling 1800 668 426 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can be made via: post â€“ GPO Box 4355 Melbourne, Vic, 3001, by free calling – 1800 668 426, or online â€“ at www.shareappeal.org.au.
You can also pledge your ongoing donation support by committing to make regular credit card donations.
People can also send a Christmas message to a bushfire survivor at www.shareappeal.org.au