If you’re sitting at home watching the devastating bushfires unfold in New South Wales and Queensland and wondering what you can do to help, there are many ways to lend a hand.

Most major charities agree that financial donations are the best and most immediate way to give aid to communities and individuals facing the loss of their homes and possessions.

The Australian Red Cross says that financial donations are preferred in that they allow those affected to make “their own choices – including purchasing the goods they need for their own families.”

Below is a list of some of the major charities who are assisting affected individuals, communities and wildlife such as koalas, who have lost their homes and habitats in the fires.

The Australian Red Cross 

The Australian Red Cross is currently supporting communities affected by bushfires at 16 evacuation centres across NSW, and a further five in QLD .

They have specialist emergency volunteers providing “psychological first aid, working at evacuation centres and helping people to get in touch with their loved ones.”

You can read more about them and make a donation here or by calling 1800 811 700. The Australian Red Cross also accepts donations over the counter at Commonwealth Bank branches.

Funds will be used to provide “critical disaster response equipment, including water filtration, shelter, hygiene and cooking kits for use in emergencies” to affected communities.

They are currently not seeking additional volunteers, but if you are interested in volunteering in future, you can find more information about that here.

The Foundation For Rural & Regional Renewal

The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal is currently calling for donations for its Disaster Resilience & Recovery Fund to support communities affected by the ongoing bushfires.

They support communities by providing funds for medium-to-long-term disaster recovery projects, and you can find out more about them here.

St Vincent De Paul 

The St Vincent De Paul Society is currently running a bushfire appeal, and donations can be made online, at one of their shops or by calling 13 18 12.

They say that a donation of $50 can provide food for families who have been evacuated from their homes, and donations of $150-$300 can help with clothing, bills and unexpected expenses.

An $1100 donation can go towards bedding, appliances and other household essentials for those who have lost these things in the bushfires.

The Salvation Army 

The Salvation Army is running 12 evacuation centres across NSW and QLD, and their general manager says they are aiming to hit $3m in donations for their current appeal.

Donations will go towards providing gift cards and vouchers to meet the individual needs of those affected by the bushfires.

You can donate online or by calling 13salvos, or alternatively, donations can be made in-store at Woolworths.

Donations Of Goods

While monetary donations are typically preferred, for those looking to donate goods, the QLD and NSW state governments are both working with Givit, who have published a list of items needed.

These include fuel, clothing and bedding vouchers for people in affected areas, and you can read more about it on their site.

Koalas And Other Wildlife 

Hundreds of koalas are thought to have perished in bushfires near Port Macquarie, and rescuers are searching for survivors.

Husband and wife vets Christeen and Paul McLeod run Koalas In Care and have turned their home in Taree into a makeshift wildlife hospital this week.

They are treating koalas left injured and homeless by the bushfires and have so far taken in more than two dozen.

Koalas In Care is seeking donations of items such as Napisan, cotton wool balls and disposable gloves and you can see their Facebook page for more info.

Other organisations such as the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and The Rescue Collective are also seeking donations.

You can find a list of items needed and where to donate them here.

Image: AAP / Dan Peled