With so many charities and worthwhile causes seeking donations, it's hard to know where is best to help out.
Now that not-for-profit platform GIVIT has been extended into NSW, it is acting as a coordinated approach to link donations to those who need them most.
GIVIT is backed by all levels of government, with Bega Valley SHir Council encouraging individuals, organisations and businesses wanting to donate quality goods and services to use the free service.
The GIVIT website acts as a virtual warehouse where you can either pledge donated items and services, or search for items people are asking for that match what you are able to donate, allowing registered recovery and support organisations to get them to real and urgent requests.
Already GIVIT and ts regional NSW manager Caroline Odgers have been active in South-East NSW, and more than 40,000 items have been donated across NSW since late January.
Donations in recent weeks include water filter kits for rural families with contaminated drinking supplies, and more than 30 mattresses, distributed by the Sapphire Community Pantry; dozens of fuel vouchers and hardware store vouchers to the South Coast Donations Logistics Team; hundreds of dollars worth of Bunnings vouchers for a family who lost their home to t Red Cross ACT; dozens of bookstore vouchers for kids being supprted by Far South Coast Family Support Service; and $1500 in vouchers for the Cobargo Scout Group to help replace equipment destroyed by the fires.
In a very special donation via the GIVIT platform, a new home to three generations of an Aboriginal family near Bermagui was kitted out with new appliances from local retailers and donated furniture from GIVIT donors in Canberra.
The family lost almost all of their belongings in the bushfires, including Christmas presents for the five young children. Within two days, GIVIT had coordinated the donations for the family. A GIVIT donor from Sydney also gave $1000 of toys for the children.
"When the Bega Valley was first confronted by the bushfires, council was overwhelmed by the offers of donated goods from locals, as well as people all over Australia and internationally," said Illiada Bolton, BVSC director of business and governance.
"However, we were soon unable to physically accept all donations due to storage limitations and the need to focus on the emergency response, our evacuation centres and the people in them."
Visit www.givit.org.au/nswfires to see what's currently needed in bushfire-affected areas and being requested by registered GIVIT charities.
GIVIT is also calling for all on-ground charities and community groups to sign-up to GIVIT's Online Donation Management Platform to access the outpouring of generous donations from across Australia - visit www.givit.org.au/charity-registration.
One hundred per cent of funds received by GIVIT are used to purchase essential items as requested by local charities and services, purchased locally wherever possible to aid the economic recovery of affected communities.