SO influential has the charity organisation GIVIT been, that last year during the height of the bushfire recovery it got Michelle Obama and Jennifer Aniston posting about it on social media.
The former first lady and “Friends” star mentioned GIVIT when promoting charities that people could donate to if they were wanting to help Australia out, and it’s no surprise given how fantastic of an idea the organisation is based on.
Originally started in 2009, GIVIT allows charities to list items, skills, or services that people may need. In response, online users can find a specific cause to donate what they personally have to those who need it.
It may be as simple a pair of shoes, a bedside table, or even some toys for children this Christmas.
Around the Queanbeyan area, GIVIT has worked with 21 charities and community groups to help those affected by the fires.
“The most amazing thing about GIVIT is how we match generosity with genuine need,” said the organisation’s regional NSW manager Caroline Odgers.
One of Caroline’s favourite donation stories involves a family whose home, about 16km out of Braidwood, was severely damaged in the blazes. With the help of GIVIT donors, they were able to supply the family with a generator.
“It meant so much to the family, as it gave them a tool to begin their recovery,” she said.
The charity also covers the ACT and is currently asking for clothes, fuel and grocery vouchers, which will go to local refugee families who need support, as well as Christmas present items for children in families that have escaped domestic violence.
This year Caroline’s work helped in coordinating almost 300,000 donated items to support communities stretching from Shoalhaven to Eurobodalla and down to Bega and the Snowy Valleys as residents continue to recover from the bushfires.
“We have been able to work with about 800 charities across NSW, big ones like Red Cross and Anglicare but also small ones like neighbourhood centres to help people who are struggling,” said Caroline.
“We’ve been able to provide power, water filter kits, and even been able to fund things like tents and caravans to people out there who sadly lost their homes in the bushfires and still don’t have a place to live.”
Importantly, Caroline also highlighted how even some of the smallest items can actually make a huge difference.
Donations in NSW this year included items such as, more than 10,000 bottles of eye drops, more than 3000 items of clothing, 2000 tubes of toothpaste, and more than 1000 grocery and fuel vouchers.
“It may even be as simple as an old mobile phone someone doesn’t use anymore. One in the back of their drawer somewhere that has the power for another to get in touch with their loved ones,” said Caroline.
In another “touching story” Caroline described how two generous young children had pooled together their pocket money over the course of a few weeks to raise $56 to donate.
“I think there’s something that feels really empowering for people in getting to choose how they’d like to donate and give what they personally can offer,” she said.
Currently on the website there are still thousands of items listed as needed, many including mobile phones, furniture, clothing, toys and appliances. However, GIVIT is confident they’ll get more items moving into the New Year.
“We’ve been able to work with so many charities this year and get donations to people who need them so we’re extremely optimistic about continuing to do so,” said Caroline.
“We can do it together, we’ve proven that. Bring on 2021.”
More information at GIVIT.org.au