As fire crews continue to work on the Bunyip State Park bushfire, residents and property owners are taking stock and picking up the pieces.
True to the Aussie spirit of helping out a mate in need, two Warragul businesses have helped facilitate the receiving and distribution of donations of emergency relief items.
MG Trading and Horseland have been helping to meet the immediate needs of land and animal owners from Pakenham to Labertouche, with many items provided by customers, suppliers, pony & adult riders clubs, and the general public.
“The response has been immediate and overwhelming,” said the manager of MG Trading Warragul, Matt Lee.
MG Trading has been able to provide things like feed for horses and other animals, pallets of drinking water and temporary fencing.
As well as contributing items from their own stock though, MG Trading Warragul has accepted donations of around $3,700 which have gone directly to providing essential items. So far almost $8,000 worth of stock has been delivered free of charge.
“Customers, clubs and groups have offered support by way of donations that can pay for what others need,” Mr Lee said.
“All products supplied to those affected by the fires were charged out at our cost price to ensure that every dollar donated went as far as possible.”
On top of all that, Akoonah Park Berwick, which has been acting as a refuge centre for horses, found they had an over-supply of feed donated to them. Horseland Warragul arranged for the excess to be distributed to those who needed it.
Horseland has so far been able to distribute around $3,500 worth of donated goods to refuge centres and families. They have handed out items like buckets, lead ropes, halters, veterinary supplies, electrolytes, and burn kits to appreciative recipients.
“People living directly in the fire-affected area helped to take stock feed, drinking water and temporary fencing supplies to where it is needed most, while we also dropped feed to as many of the animal evacuation centres as we could,” Mr Lee said.
“Efforts by our staff have been remarkable, both in helping residents evacuate before the fire impacted them, and in their tireless efforts to provide assistance to those who have felt the effects of these fires.
“Staff from both sites had fire threatening their own properties, but they are still choosing to help others.”
The manager of Horseland Warragul, Rachel Lawes agreed, saying “We couldn’t do any of this without the generosity of our customers, suppliers, and local clubs, groups and individuals.”
“The key to all this is the incredible efforts undertaken by our staff at both MG and Horseland. They have friends and family who were directly impacted, and the community is close to our hearts.’’
“The response has been overwhelming,” Ms Lawes said.
With relief and recovery efforts to go on for some time, the management and staff of MG Trading Warragul and Horseland Warragul stand ready to go on lending a helping hand, made possible by the friends and neighbours of those impacted, their suppliers and even by total strangers with a desire to give.