We are aware of some miscommunication around the Society’s role and dealing with expectations and would like to address some of these to try and clarify some of the most common questions:
What are Vinnies currently doing in Victoria?
Gippsland (Bairnsdale) - All first responders, The Red Cross, the local council, Department of Human Services and The Salvation Army remain at the main relief centre. Vinnies Victoria is offering additional assistance, please note that we have relocated to St Mary’s, where we have set up a separate emergency assistance centre. As ‘second responders’, Vinnies will be in Bairnsdale for the long haul and our local volunteers will be active in the recovery process for many years to come.
North East (Wodonga and Wangaratta) - We are not present at the Relief Centre in Wodonga, but we have provided our contact details to invite anyone who needs further assistance to come to our Assistance Centre where we are offering our regular assistance program.
Are we first responders?
No, we are not. We are second responders who remain in communities for the long term.
The government-appointed first responders (Red Cross) work directly with individuals during these type of crisis situations. Our role is one of long-term recovery and rebuilding and we are committed to remaining with, and working alongside, the community.
For example, a year on from the bushfires in the Bunyip area we continue to support people local people and businesses, with providing essential items such as food and fuel vouchers as well as a listening ear.
Are we accepting donations of material goods?
here has been a lot of discussion about what we are and aren’t able to receive. We acknowledge that we are ‘working a tightrope’ of wanting to receive our normal good quality donations, but not being overwhelmed with a huge influx of goods we cannot process or store.
Our Vinnies Shops are accepting donations of clothing and homewares during trading hours as normal. Leaving donations outside shops overnight does not help our teams or people needing support. As we often say, “If it is not good enough for your family it is not good enough for Vinnies” and “Please come during opening hours so our volunteers can thank you for your generous donations personally”.
As we receive only 1% of our funding from the Federal Government, buying goods in our shops is a huge help in raising funds.
We are accepting cash donations for the Victorian Vinnies Bushfire Appeal at all our Vinnies Shops.
We cannot guarantee that goods donated in any of our shops will be transported to the fire-affected areas, as we are not set up for such logistics. However, all items donated to our shops will be made available to raise funds to assist people in need locally across Victoria.
Are our Vinnies Shops open?
All shops across the state are open and trading, including our Lakes Entrance shop which reopened this morning.
Will my donation go to assist people in Victoria?
Please be assured that all donations from Victorians to www.bushfireappeal.com.au will be directed to Victoria.
The Vinnies Appeal commenced in NSW in early December and we are grateful to our National office for building the response ‘engine’. All receipts so far have been processed by NSW, but money will be directed to Victoria through our internal transfers.
We will be in regular contact with our local volunteers and will provide updates as and when they become available.