TOP 5: How you can help the Granite Belt recover from fire
THE recovery effort is under way on the Granite Belt and the community is invited to help fire-affected residents as they rebuild their lives from the ground up.
There are a number of options for people who feel compelled to assist after watching the blaze destroy the drought-ravaged landscape around Stanthorpe.
1. Donate money
According to Southern Downs Mayor Tracy Dobie, the most effective way to contribute to the recovery effort is to donate money to GIVIT.
"At this point we are asking for financial donations,” Cr Dobie said.
"This means that when residents are ready, they can buy exactly what they need and they can purchase it in town.
"That way the money can stay in town and help local businesses and provide a needed boost to the economy.”
Financial contributions made via the GIVIT website are guaranteed to land back in the hands of Southern Downs residents, so long as its specified in the comments section of the donations page.
These donations will also be used to fulfil orders from charities on the ground, such as the Salvation Army.
For those who would prefer to donate items, GIVIT provides drop-off points and a full list of what residents need on their website.
These currently include fridges, TVs and grocery vouchers.
To make a contribution or find out more information please visit www.givit.org.au/disasters
2. Visit the area
A LARGE number of local businesses rely on visitors to stay financially afloat, especially during tough times.
Cr Dobie encourages people to "invest their money directly” by spending a day, or weekend, on the Granite Belt.
Though large swathes of the landscape are burned by fire, attractions such as Summit Estate Wines, the Granite Belt Christmas Farm and Jamworks are operating as normal.
With school holidays just around the corner and beautiful, cool sunny days predicted, it's the perfect time to book a holiday that could really help people in need.
3. Charity work
IF you live locally, charities are always open to accepting help.
Organisations such as the Salvation Army, the Lions Club and Lifeline are working to assist fire-affected residents, while Chris and Ian Robins from the Purple Dove could use assistance sorting through and delivering the large volume of donated items they received from Jason Rogers at the Stanthorpe Showgrounds.
Granite Belt Wildlife Carers are run off their feet trying to help animals affected by the bushfires and would welcome volunteers once things settle down a little bit.
Lifeline: 4661 8841
Granite Belt Wildlife Carers: 0418 144 073
Salvation Army: 4661 3617
Purple Dove: 0416 169 032
4. Join the fight
BUSHFIRE season has only just begun and the rural fire service needs your help.
Local fireys have been fighting from Applethorpe to Ballandean for over 100 hours and fatigue is setting in.
Additional crews have come to help from Brisbane, but the more volunteers that can get on board, the better it will be for the entire region.
There are many roles in the RFS, including firefighting and prevention, community education, administration, incident management, communication and catering.
All training and gear is provided, and there is a wonderful community spirit for those looking to make fast friends.
If you'd like to register your interest, contact the Darling Downs Rural Fire Service to find your nearest station on 4698 5720.
5. Lend a hand
THE State Emergency Services are a vital part of any recovery effort, whether it be fires, floods or natural disasters.
If you can commit to attending regular training and availability during major events, volunteering for the SES may be for you.
There are a number of roles available and only a base level of fitness is required to join.
There are no joining fees and education and training programs are provided free of charge.
If you are injured in any way whilst on an approved SES activation or at training, you will be fully covered by workers compensation.
For more information contact SES Toowoomba on 4592 5230.