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A sweet approach to supporting fire affected communities

Clara and Lola delivered their donation for Red Cross' Disaster Relief and Recovery fund in a small box - $520, raised at a bake sale in their local street.

“This is from all of us,” said 13-year-old Lola, referring to the seven friends who set up the sidewalk cake stand, and the passers-by who bought the cupcakes, cookies and chocolate slice the teenagers baked.

“We saw what was happening on the news and just wanted to help in some way,” said 14-year-old Clara.

Watching the news you can feel pretty helpless; it was good to get out and do something for people who have lost their homes.

Clara

The girls said the response from people was amazing, with passing families and even cyclists stopping to buy something from the stall, a simple table on the sidewalk. Others donated money and thanked the girls for helping out.

One woman who had lost her home in the Black Saturday fires told the girls how moved she was to see them getting out and helping people who are now going through a similar experience to her.

The girls decided to donate the money they raised to Red Cross. “Red Cross have been working in disasters like this for a long time,” said Clara. “They have so much experience, are well known and can be trusted.”

To show the two teenagers the work their donation will support, Australian Red Cross’ National Resilience Adviser, John Richardson, took some time out from organising the long-term recovery effort to show them around Red Cross’ operations room in Melbourne, where staff and volunteers are coordinating the immediate response.

From here, operation coordinators are in constant contact with Red Cross teams working in affected communities, providing practical and emotional support, and connecting people to vital services. Next door to the operations room, other Red Cross staff are going through the meticulous process of distributing $10,000 emergency grants to people who have lost their homes.

Mr Richardson told the girls that this was just the start, with donations going to support communities through the long-term recovery process, which can take years.

The girls also had some ideas to share, including looking at traditional Aboriginal practices to reduce the impact of bushfires, lifestyle changes that support the environment, and the importance of a national climate policy. “If we set the example, that will encourage other countries to act,” Lola explained.

Thank you Clara and Lola - you're simply amazing!

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