A new Instagram account is showcasing a bunch of small businesses in bushfire-affected communities, encouraging Aussies to spend where their money is needed most once the bushfire crisis has passed.

Spend With Them was launched by Turia Pitt and Grace McBride in response to the ongoing crisis, and already has more than 40,000 followers.

“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,” Pitt posted on Instagram.

“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.”

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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

A post shared by Turia (@turiapitt) on

Some of those businesses featured include the Stony Creek Farm Distillery in Bega Creek, surf and clothing store Akwa Surf in Milton, and the Adelaide Hills winery Vinteloper, which saw its vineyard “obliterated” in the pre-Christmas fires. “It will take them seven years to regrow what was destroyed,” the Spend With Them Instagram post reads. “But every bottle sale will help.”

The initiative was inspired by the #BuyFromTheBush campaign, which encourages Aussies to spend their dollars with rural boutiques and brands as a way of keeping vital dollars flowing into drought-affected communities.

Since the start of the 2019 fire season, more than 6.3 million hectares have burned across Australia. At least 23 people have been killed, more than 1,700 homes have been destroyed, and an estimated half a billion animals have died. And these fires aren’t showing much sign of slowing down – the fire season isn’t over yet.

Yesterday, Scott Morrison finally did something meaningful during this crisis and pledged $2 billion for the bushfire recovery effort (although a little more action – or any – on climate change and the very real threat it poses to Australians and the world could be a great next step, Scotty). It comes after our other Prime Minister Celeste Barber raised $40 million for the NSW Rural Fire Service. Unfortunately, you cannot vote for her in the next election, but you can donate here.

You can follow the Spend With Them account here, and if you’re wondering how to help the firies, wildlife and people affected by bushfire, check out our list of ways to help here.

Image: Instagram