WITH Australia in the grip of one of the worst bushfire seasons on record, Melbourne philanthropists John and Pauline Gandel have donated $1 million towards national bushfire response efforts.
The funding will go towards much-needed firefighting efforts across Australia through donations to volunteer firefighters in New South Wales (NSW RFS), Victoria (CFA), Queensland (QFES) and South Australia (CFS).
It will also assist people and communities affected by the bushfires through donations to national bushfire appeals of the Australian Red Cross, Salvation Army and St Vincent de Paul Society; and help save, protect and recover wildlife through donations to WWF, WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service) and MKC/The Rescue Collective.
In 2009, the Gandel family also donated $1 million in response to the Black Saturday bushfire disaster in Victoria.
“The needs in this crisis far outstrip our contribution, but regardless we felt that we had to do our bit, and support as many key organisations as we can, in the hope that we can help make at least some difference to the lives of our fellow Australians devastated by this emergency,” John and Pauline Gandel said in a statement on Friday.
“We also hope that this contribution will encourage others to help out in any way they can. Every donation, big or small, every hour of volunteering and every donated food or clothing item can – and will – make a difference to those in need.”
The couple said Australians are well known for standing together in difficult times.
“Now is the time to come together, to show our community spirit and to face this great challenge with compassion and empathy for those fighting the fires and those affected by fires.”