Here’s How To Help Out Local Businesses in Bushfire-Affected Areas
With a bushfire crisis raging across Australia, experts have estimated that the economic cost of this devastating season likely exceeds $2 billion. This blow is the result of lost tourism, plus agricultural and retail income, in fire-affected regions.
So how can you help out local businesses in these areas at a time when it’s not advised to visit?
While it might not be feasible to plan a tourism-boosting road trip to affected areas this weekend, online and phone orders may just be the lifeline that suffering businesses need to stay afloat.
With that in mind, author and motivational speaker Turia Pitt launched Spend With Them, a platform to feature businesses in bushfire-affected towns.
As Pitt writes: “Spend your money with the people and the communities who really, truly need it. They need you. We need you. This is a way to put money directly in the pockets of the people and communities who need it the most, and need it NOW.
“Long after the threat is over and the choppers stop flying overhead. Long after summer ends and the wail of sirens ceases in the streets. Help them rebuild. Make them feel heard. Spend with them.”
Pitt has also asked affected businesses to reach out to be featured on the account.
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My last post was long. So, let me get into the guts of it here: Once these fires are finally ‘over’, it won’t be over for many of the local businesses in fire-ravaged towns. A lot of these places (like my home in Mollymook, and Mallacoota, Kangaroo Island, Eden etc) rely on the tourist dollar for their very survival. I’ve been motivated by Tegan Webber’s #GoWithEmptyEskys campaign and by the legends at @buyfromthebush. And so this is what I’m doing. I’ve created @spendwiththem, a place to feature businesses in fire-affected towns. So, if you want to buy something (now, or in the future), check out @spendwiththem and buy something from one of these places. Spend your money with the people and the communities who really, truly need it. They need you. We need you. This is a way to put money directly in the pockets of the people and communities who need it the most, and need it NOW. Long after the threat is over and the choppers stop flying overhead. Long after summer ends and the wail of sirens ceases in the streets. Help them rebuild. Make them feel heard. Spend with them. And, if you’re a business in a fire-affected town, hit us up at @spendwiththem to be featured. Much love to all of you, donating, spending, and doing everything you can. I’m blown away. Turia xx #spendwiththem
At the time of writing, @spendwiththem has amassed 165K followers.
The account is also encouraging another ingenious way to support local hospitality businesses, at a time when travel to fire-affected areas is at an all-time low. Followers can buy vouchers for local bars and restaurants to be passed on to local families in need.
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When it comes to local bars and restaurants, we faced a little conundrum. See, we want to support these local businesses but given we can’t encourage visitation to fire-affected towns, we weren’t sure how to do that. But we’ve found a solution! You can buy a voucher at the places we’ll start to feature and they’ll pass it on to a local family in need. It’s completely win-win 🙂 On that note, let us introduce @the_ruse_ – a bar and casual dining venue in Ulladulla. You can #spendwiththem by purchasing a gift voucher at theruse.com.au/shop. If you’d like to gift this voucher to someone in need or an RFS volunteer, email the voucher to [email protected] and they’ll sort it. Simple!
Meanwhile, another internet-led initiative, Find A Bed, is connecting Australians who’ve had to leave their homes with people who are able to offer a bed. Airbnb has also stepped up to help provide emergency housing. If you have a spare bed, room or property to offer, you can register on Find A Bed or Airbnb now.
(Lead Image: The Ruse Ulladulla / @spendwiththem)