Jobs and business has been lost in the COVID-19 pandemic, but this has not stopped people providing donations to support bushfire survivors.
The Bega Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund, co-managed by Bega Valley Shire Council and the Social Justice Advocates (SJA) of the Sapphire Coast, is a perpetual fund used to support the community in its recovery from natural disasters now and into the future and is sitting at $605,000.
SJA chairperson Mick Brosnan said donations had slowed since the pandemic began, but had still continued and the fund's team was close to begin distributing the monies.
"It has waned there's no doubt about that, but that is because the virus has taken over, in a sense, in people's minds," he said.
Quaama Bushfire Relief Centre coordinator Veronica Abbott also said monetary donations had slowed down a lot, but there were still groups working to make sure her community got what it needed.
"There are still so many people out there who are wonderful and want to keep helping us," she said.
But the pandemic had thrown up challenges for the community.
Ms Abbott had to close the doors to the relief centre for a time as it is in the Quaama Hall, a council-owned facility, although she still packed up items for people in need then made the packages available for them.
"So all the visible signs of help were gone and basically we were it," she said.
"People understand where we are at the moment, which is a hard place.
"All that additional adrenaline has well and truly abated and we're all tired.
"It's the relentlessness of things, the rules of COVID-19, and really just wondering, for a lot of people, 'how I can get through today?'"
Another fund in the shire is the independent Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund which has committee members from Cobargo, Quaama, Coolagolite, Yowrie and Verona, and has raised over $600,000 for projects that benefit the recovery of the whole community.
Similarly, donations have slowed since the pandemic began, as has disbursement of the funds due to restrictions limiting people gathering to develop projects, but its president Zena Armstrong said the committee was incredibly grateful that in the middle of the health crisis people were still donating.
For instance, the Queensland Nurses and Midwives' Union had made a donation of about $1000, despite having to deal with the impact of the coronavirus as medical professionals.
"For a lot of us, it's really changed our idea of what generosity is. Some people donate, then donate again," Ms Armstrong said.
"I think it's getting around that this is a fund that's run by community volunteers and is trying to be really transparent."
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