Regular international charity donations since we opened in 2009
Since the first year we opened, way back in 2009, we have had regular monthly donations to some overseas charities with our main benefactor always being The School of St Jude in Tanzania. It was founded by Australian woman Gemma Sisia, who many of you may know from the features done on the ABC's Austalian Story. From the humble beginnings of a $10 donation to open a bank account and 3 students in 2002, in 2010, the school boasted 1300 students, three campuses and boarding for students. It just keeps getting bigger each year. I have had the pleasure of meeting Gemma on one of her visits to Australia and my brother has taken his family vacation to the school and also had people from the school stay with him in his home when they come to fundraise.
We have also, over time, donated money to the following charities:-
- World Vision Child Sponsorship
- World Vision's Water Health Life program
- ME/CFS Society of Australia
- The Smith Family Christmas Appeal
- Aunties & Uncles
- Kiva (microlending)
- Surf Lifesaving Australia (through monetary donations, being a lifesaver and running a charity event)
What we're adding in 2020
Up until our bushfire crisis, I always felt the needs of people in third world countries were where I needed to send our charity donations. Through all of November and December 2019, we worked and lived 25km from the edge of the first 'mega fire' at Gospers Mountain that destroyed land stretching from the Central Coast to Lithgow. It destroyed our air quality and displaced a select few residents. I had forgotten what fresh air felt like. At the time, we thought we were suffering. Then, the trouble headed south and on New Years Eve 2019, the start of the most horrific natural disaster I have witnessed in my lifetime began. What we experienced here on the Central Coast was a mere fraction of what we were about to see.
We have all seen the news stories, mass evacuation, large numbers of property destroyed. Lives lost, including firefighters. And then there's estimates of over half a million native wildlife just gone. It's heartbreaking and completely changed the way we look at our charity program moving forward. We have seen Australians and celebrities from around the globe pour millions of dollars in to some big charities that are all doing amazing work. What we're going to focus on here at Shop Naturally not only in 2020, but beyond, is to choose someone small each week and spread the love around. Restoring losses and damage from this catastrophic disaster is a marathon and not a sprint. We don't want to just hand over a large amount now. We want to keep a slow and steady stream of donations going all year round.
Who are we adding in 2020
This list is very much a work in progress. As we learn about new opportunities to help the little guys ('cause we're little guys!!), we're going to post them here. The organisations on this list will receive repeated donations from us throughout the year. Feel feel to join us in supporting these lesser known worthy causes. We have checked that all these links are genuine if you wish to donate to anyone below:-
Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park
Located at Calga on the NSW Central Coast, not to far from our own warehouse, they came within 8km of the Gospers FIre blaze and had to evacuate around 300 animals in a plan that took several days. With no funding assistance (just ticket sales), they had to close their doors for around 3 weeks to not only move their own animals to safety, but rescue and move wildlife in the line of the fire. They had to spend money they didn't have on firefighting equipment and now have a blueprint for safe evacuations which they will no doubt need to use again.
Official website: http://www.walkaboutpark.com.au/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/walkaboutwildlife/
Official Fundraising link: https://www.gofundme.com/f/Save-Walkabout-Sanctuary
Bega Valley Eggs
This one is choosing to support a business who is supporting their local community and trying to establish their own after being affected by the fires. Bega Valley Eggs was just 4 months in to their business when the fires hit on New Years Eve 2019. They were relying on the summer trade to complete building the grading room at one of their farms, and with the other one out of commission from the fires, they had zero income to do that.
Bega Valley Eggs decided to ask for donations and at $11 per carton, 50% of that money is used to provide eggs to one of their stockists FOR FREE - small business on the South Coast is suffering, and as a small business myself, I feel for them. The other 50% goes towards finishing the grading room so they can establish their business.
There's photos on their social media gifting the eggs to stockists and they're leaving comments all over social and are really appreciative of the help. We have donated eggs which help Bega Valley Eggs and their small business stockists. We love that our donation went directly to someone where we know exactly what's being done with it.
Donate on the front page of their website
Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary
Cobargo is now well and truly etched in to the minds of the Australian public as some of their residents showed their outrage at our Prime Minister on the day he visited their town and forced people to shake his hand. What we didn't hear about in the media is that the Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary was decimated. They lost the home on the property, enclosures and stables and sadly the wildlife at the sanctuary were trapped by a ring of fire and were unable to escape. They lost all of their roos, wombats were burnt and buried alive in burrows. Animals that were left alive were badly burned and had to be euthanised to end their suffering. I cannot imagine the trauma.
In days following the event, they managed to save a Joey that was protected in mum's pouch and slowly, animals that lived beyond their sanctuary and survived started to arrive. There is a GoFundMe to rebuild the sanctuary which is a sister organisation to Wildlife Rescue Sunshine Coast.
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cobargowildlifesanctuary/
Official Fundraising: https://www.gofundme.com/f/wildlife-fire-ground-carers
Wallabia Wildlife Shelter
We are still learning about these guys, but we heard that they lost their building in the Goongerah fires and the founders also lost their home and they're taking care of their animals in temporary shelters. That's all we needed to know to add them to our list.
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wallabia-Wildlife-Shelter-1497942800220898/
Official Fundraising link: https://chuffed.org/project/wallabia