WHEN we think about who and how to assist during the bushfires devastating the country, many would go straight to helping people losing their homes and belongings.
But what about our two- and four-legged companions who have been injured and lost their homes too?
That is exactly what Rochester local Jess Dwyer thought when she decided to give a helping hand.
“I have an aunty and uncle who both lost their houses in the fires,” she said.
“They told us not to worry, they can rebuild, and that got me thinking, ‘who else needs our help right now?’”
She then started to think of the more than half a million animals who have been lost and the many more injured in the blazes.
“Money can help people in the long run, but there’s animals out there that need other assistance now,” she said.
Jess came across a Facebook post from the Animal Rescue Collective, who had put the call out for medical supplies to help these injured creatures.
“The ARC put out a wish list of things they would need donated and I took that, compiled it and contacted the Rochester Community House to see if they would help out, and they were keen,” she said.
“I along with everyone have been feeling helpless in the wake of the bushfire tragedy,” Rochester Community House co-ordinator Amanda Logie said.
“When Jess called to see if we would like to be involved it was a no-brainer, exactly what we were looking for, a way to help out.”
Within two days of having the Community House open for donations, the team had collected at least a trailer full of supplies.
“We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of people,” Amanda said.
“It will be a long road back to health for these animals. It’s so important — to think there is any possibility that any of our native species could become no more would be devastating.”
Supplies such as expired burn creams, bandages, dressings and so much more can be donated to the cause.
“We’re asking people to dig through their medicine cabinets and donate what’s expired and what they may not need anymore,” Jess said.
Donations can be dropped at the Rochester Community House and will then be taken to an ARC distribution centre in Melbourne.
“We just want to help out the ones out there who can’t help themselves,” Jess said.
“There’s no end date on these donations. If people still want to donate after these fires are over, we will have them for other fires that may come up this fire season.”
The full wish list can be found on the Rochester Community House website.