GreaterGood Lends a Hand to People, Animals, and the Environment Following Australian Bushfires

Since 1999, GreaterGood has been working to create easy ways for changemakers like you to make an impact, both in local communities and around the globe. In that time, we’ve raised more than $75 million dollars for a wide variety of charitable causes that provide aid to people, pets, and our beautiful planet.

Through shopping, daily free clicks, donations, and more, we’ve worked together to change the world one click at a time! And we can’t tell you enough how much we appreciate your support! Thank you for helping us reach this important milestone of $75 million raised for charity! Read on to learn more about one of the many ways you’ve helped us give where it matters.


GreaterGood and its donors sprang into action during the 2019-2020 bushfires in Australia. We knew that there were going to be millions of people and animals in need, and we wanted to be there to support them all.

PHOTO: RSPCA QLD

Thanks to more than $465,000 in donations from generous donors like you, GreaterGood has been able to provide several organizations with grants to aid people, animals, and the environment in Australia during and after the bushfires. We paid for healthcare for injured and burned wildlife and provided food and supplies to displaced people and the firefighters and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to battle the flames and keep others safe.

World Central Kitchen (WCK) is one of the organizations we worked with on the ground. World Central Kitchen has been in operation for nearly a decade creating simple but clever solutions to hunger in disaster situations around the world.

With their grant money, the “food first responders” at WCK set up a makeshift kitchen at their partner restaurant, Eastwood’s, about 230 miles south of Syndey, in an effort to prepare and deliver lunches and dinners every day for first responders and the families affected by the fires. They also partnered with local restaurants in Cobargo, Quaama, Narooma, Mogo, and other towns to get warm healthy meals into the bellies of people who have been displaced by the fires and those fighting them.

PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK/TOA555

Partnering with local restaurants allowed several small businesses to stay afloat, as the bushfires have been dissuading tourists from coming to the area during what is normally peak tourism season. At the same time, this system helped WCK get a large number of meals out to people without purchasing a lot of kitchen equipment. WCK created a voucher system called Feel Good Feeds and gave each adult member of each household they served a punch card to use at participating restaurants to receive free meals. WCK reimbursed their partner restaurants for every meal purchased with vouchers.

Alicia and Nyamba are two young girls whose families have been helped by WCK’s efforts. The best friends are from Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council in New South Wales, and they were evacuated from their homes during the bushfires.

PHOTO: WCK

“Since the new year, Alicia and Nyamba have only been eating canned food. They were extremely excited to dig into a fresh meal,” wrote a WCK worker in early 2020. “It was Nyamba’s 7th birthday the day this photo was taken. While she could not have imagined spending her birthday in a community ravaged by bushfires, we are honored to be able to serve Nyamba and her friend, Alicia, a meal. They loved the feast!”

Another pair of people helped by your donations and WCK’s programs are Tracey and Michael Hargreaves. The couple had been married for 36 years at the time of the fires and ran a business called Café 54 as well as a firewood business. December was traditionally a busy month for them, during which Tracey prepared a surplus of meals for their busy January season, but that year, disaster struck.

PHOTO: WCK

“On December 31, the fires destroyed much of Mitchell’s equipment. They slept in Café 54 with their family, employees, and dogs for two nights over New Years’ and opened the cafe at 5:00 AM each day for neighbors in need,” WCK reported. “Tracey and Mitchell participate in our Feel Good Feeds program, which has helped Café 54 remain open to serve their neighbors. They have been able to sell all the food stored in December and keep an income flowing in for their family. Incredibly resilient, Tracey still wears a smile and gives a great hug.”

GreaterGood.org’s grant supported World Central Kitchen‘s food purchases, kitchen equipment, and the delivery of food during some very difficult times for the people of Australia. With your support behind them, WCK served well over 33,000 meals to hungry people who had been affected by the bushfires. And with the implementation of the Feel Good Feeds pilot program, were able to provide another 5,600 meals to Australians in need.

But we couldn’t stop there. We know it’s all too common for animals to be forgotten during natural disasters like this, so we immediately started looking for ways to help the Australian wildlife we knew would be affected by the fires. An estimated one billion animals were touched by the flames, so a lot of help was needed to treat and care for all the survivors.

Happily, we were able to partner with rescue organizations on the ground to help animals in need, both those who had been displaced by the fires and those who were injured and burned as they escaped from them. These creatures included kangaroos, koalas, possums, kookaburras, birds, owls, reptiles, snakes, and other native species, totaling more than 27,000 creatures within the space of a year.

Koalas were not on the endangered list in 2019 and 2020, but they were considered threatened, and a couple of years after the fires, they were added to the endangered list as well. Every koala’s life counts, and rescuers saved and treated as many as they could with your help!

Ainsley and Rupert, a mother-son koala pair rescued by police officers from wildfires near the Gold Coast town of Carunga, are two we’re particularly fond of. Without medical care and a place to live, they’d have faced a sorry fate.

PHOTO: RSPCA QLD

“They came in here with all of the pads on their paws all burnt quite significantly,” Darren Maier, CEO of The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Queensland (RSPCA Qld), said of the little marsupial mother and son, which were brought to RSPCA’s main animal hospital in September/October 2019.

It took about three months or so for Ainsley and Rupert to be healed and ready to return to their habitats. But then a secondary issue reared its ugly head–the lack of habitat for them to return to.

In the short term, of course, the main issues most of the surviving wildlife had were burns, smoke inhalation, and other treatable injuries. But even when they were healed, many of the animals did not have homes to return to, as their habitats had been swallowed up by the fires. That left another problem for rescuers to solve–how to house so many animals who had nowhere to go.

PHOTO: RSPCA QLD

This was particularly problematic for koalas, because they have strong homing instincts and will do just about anything to get back to the place they call home. This means that they’re at risk of being struck by cars or killed by dogs or other predators as they hop along the ground in search of their old habitats. Releasing them into natural areas not affected by the fires wasn’t really an option.

Instead, rescuers worked to develop koala “kindys,” areas of hand-planted eucalyptus trees where koalas could safely climb and interact with one another within the safety of a large enclosure until their habitats had been restored.

Of course, there are some animals who will never be healthy enough to return to their original homes. Phoenix, an eastern gray kangaroo rescued from Toowoomba, an inland town 78 miles west of Brisbane, is one of those critters.

PHOTO: RSPCA QLD

“All of its paws were burnt so bad that it wasn’t able to hop,” Maier said, recalling how rescuers found the little kangaroo stranded by himself in a decimated forest. Months later, Phoenix’s burns have healed nicely, but his long nails — an essential component of kangaroo survival – remain underdeveloped. “So the fear we have for little Phoenix at the moment is if those nails don’t grow back, will he actually be helpless in the wild again anyway?”

Despite the mounting problems facing them, rescuers from RSPCA Qld continued their tireless work — fielding 6,000 calls a week on a rescue hotline, sending out animal ambulances to pick up injured animals, coaxing koalas out of charred trees, and more. Thank you for your donations, which allowed RSPCA Qld to rescue and rehabilitate so many koalas from Australia’s ongoing wildfire devastation!

We also partnered with the Taronga Zoo to help fund care for injured koalas. The Taronga Zoo treated more than 100 koalas during the fires, rescued and rehabilitated 12 koalas, helped one mama koala give birth to a baby joey, and then monitored the habitats they wished to release the koalas back into until the trees were able to sustain them again. What a joyous day it was when they were able to release a dozen marsupials – plus one little joey – back into the wild!

Photo: Greater Good Charities

“Releasing her knowing she is carrying hope for a species in crisis is something we can all look at as a positive,” said Helen Wright, Fundraising Manager at Taronga Conservation Society Australia.

Lastly, our partnership with Humane Society International helped even more animals. HSI helped local wildlife centers and rehabilitation sanctuaries expand their enclosures to be able to house more animals, and they ran search-and-rescue missions to find injured koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, and flying foxes. Altogether, your donations helped HSI provide care to over 300 animals.

One of the animals rescued was an adorable koala named Spud. Spud managed to survive the fires themselves but was found near a burned plantation with no greenery around to eat. Knowing that he would die of starvation if left in that situation, rescuers coaxed him down from a tree, put him in a laundry basket, and brought him in for evaluation.

Photo: HSI/Erica Martin

Spud was found to be malnourished and given fluids and a food supplement paste, along with his typical diet of gum leaves. It didn’t take long before he was ready to be released into the wild again – in an area where he would have plenty to eat. With your help, he’s a happy, healthy survivor!

This rapid and vast response wouldn’t have been possible without our readers and shoppers at the GreaterGood family of websites, whose support helped us raise more than $465,000 USD to fund RSPCA Qld’s wildlife rehabilitation efforts and WCK’s meal programs. Your daily clicks and shopping on The Animal Rescue Site, The Rainforest Site, and other GreaterGood websites helped so many people and animals during a truly devastating crisis!

Thank you to everyone who helped support the cause with your generous donations!


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