How to really help bush fire affected regions and its not how you think…..

Bush fires.  Yep – it’s been a shocker of a start to 2020 for so many including us. We are on the South Coast of NSW and have been in the thick of it.  While our home was not affected, we have had friends who have lost their houses, lost their animals and lost their sense of safety. There are plenty of posts out there about the fires and what has happened – but this one is what you can really do to help for where you are.  

Photo credit copyright Emma English – and yes this is real and not photoshopped – what do you see? 

I preface this by not belittling in any format the sheer material loss faced by so many, our hearts go out to these people the amazing amount of money donated to the agencies when it does get through to them, which I have faith it will. But what you don’t all see if the fall out from the fires to businesses that didn’t get directly affected by the fires, that have been hugely impacted by tourists or lack thereof.  What we need regionally is regional retail stimulation. So how can you help with that?

We understand that not everyone can jump in the car, come to our beautiful region of the South Coast with an empty car and Empty Esky, but if you are reading this, then you have the ability to buy online with a business in the area that in turn will stimulate the area.  Stay with me…. 

Camera Chick is a very small business that’s Australian owned and regionally run by my sister and myself.  My home was not affected and my business, not being a bricks and mortar store was not directly affected.  So why should you buy from a business like ours or another business not directly affected? Great question. Let me explain….

Because we are living with the aftermath of friends rebuilding, random people crying in the street and friends cancelling going to a get together because it’s over 30 degrees and winds are forecast (insert here one friend put up a post today of a tree still burning inside the trunk after 38 days at her back fence outside her kitchen window), we understand that we locals can play a big part in helping restore as much normality to our area that we have control over. 

Photo credit and copyright Hayley Mundey Photography

As a small business owner, I only buy my fruit and veg from the local fruit market – never a supermarket, our meat comes from the local butcher – never the supermarket, our eggs are free-range locally from Kangaroo Valley pastured eggs and the milk we buy is South Coast Dairy milk from our local farmers.  We only buy Bega cheese and god knows these guys need your supermarket support right now so buy Bega all the way! 

But, your thinking you can’t help these guys as you cant get here with your esky to stock up and you can’t buy these products online. Right?  Well, this is where the full circle comes in. Supporting a business like ours creates income, of which in turn we go and buy locally, so it’s a win for everyone.  You can buy through any online business located in any fire-affected area of any product, and I would almost guarantee that small business owner will inject that money straight back into the local community keeping jobs flowing and families fed.  Because we small business owners understand that now more than ever it’s time to help each other keep going. One day at a time. 

So – if you can’t visit an affected area and really want to help to get your donation to where it needs to be, find an online business in that area and go buy that Camera Necklace or that Camera Strap that hey, you really don’t need. But you know that spending that $20 online is going to go directly in the area that needs the injection.  This morning I bought 3 lots of garlic products that I really don’t need, but I will one day, and I’m happy to make my donations to the fire relief in this direction to support that farmer direct.  He lost his home and was still out saving others as a firefighter.  Donating my $30 direct to his business will not only help him, but he will go to the local shops and servos…It’s a great circle of helping each other.

Buying locally is not cheap – true.   For example, the 3 ltr milk I bought from the local farmers was $5.99.  Sure – I could have grabbed the no name for $3 and kept $3 in my bank.  The eggs were $8.99 a dozen and not the no-name caged eggs for $5 (FYI – these are the BEST eggs and we had even bought some chickens off them which we sadly lost in the fires), but that’s not going to help us as a community get back on track.  However, someone bought a Bayleigh Camera bag this morning, so I’m going to pay that gesture forward and pay that bit extra at each place I shop to buy locally for them. Are you seeing where I’m coming from?

 And if you can’t find that business in that area you want to support, find groups like Buy from a Bush business.  People there like the young girl on the farm making lip balm sticks for $5 to support her dad’s farm could really use your help. And you KNOW you can always use another lip balm……..

Let’s start to rebuild this country from the inside out and support those that we know are really hurting.

Till next time, happy snapping

Natalie

Oh – on a complete side note – if you do not already have the book in my photo above Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients do yourself a favour and buy a copy.  By far the best, easy, happsle free cooking I have ever done, and I generally don’t cook…. 

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