If you’re like me and staring down the barrel of your monthly payday, or you honestly just can’t spare any cash at the moment for the CFA, RFS, Red Cross, WIRES, Wildlife Victoria, or any of the disaster relief initiatives to help out Aussies in places devastated by the current bushfire crisis; don’t worry, there are so many other things you can do to lend a hand.

So you’ve opened your wallet to nothing but moths and an old, expired ticket to a movie you saw three years ago, but you still have this deep-seated feeling of helplessness? No stress, here are a few things you can do right away that won’t cost you a dollar – and in one case, you might actually get a free snack out of it.

Donate Blood

One of the simplest things you can do is book yourself in to donate blood if you can. Now, I know that not everyone is able to give blood for various reasons (some more loaded than others) but if you’re eligible and able, I strongly urge you to book in an appointment at your nearest blood bank.

When any disaster occurs, one of the biggest things that hospitals desperately need is blood. And with something to the scale of these bushfires, it’s not only needed because of the number of patients needing donations spikes, but there are many regular donors in fire-affected areas that physically can’t donate due to loss of power and other things.

And if you’re worried about going alone, take a friend or make a group chat pact to book in all together. It’s much easier to go and do it when you’ve got friendly faces in the chairs next to you.

Check out the Red Cross Lifeblood website for more information, and don’t forget you can absolutely get free snacks and milkshakes after you donate.

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*EDIT 2: if you have more to give PLEASE consider @wildlifevictoria. The majority of donations have gone to the incredible @wireswildliferescue in NSW but please dedicate some time and funds to Victorian wildlife ❤️❤️* *EDIT: I forgot to include @qldfire and their Rural Fire Service! Handle is also tagged in photo now.* Was going to post a drawing of the beach I’ve been working on but didn’t feel right. Started over again and gathered some important resources on what we can all do to help fire-affected areas – even if you don’t have extra $. If you’re going to donate goods or time pls check with the organisation so you know you’re providing exactly what they need! Thanks for reading 🙂 #australia #bushfiresaustralia #bushfireappeal #climatechange #donate

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Volunteer

Getting your hands dirty is a really great way to tangibly help out with disaster relief. Whether it’s heading out to Organic & Biodynamic farms with ORIC or helping to build fences with BlazeAid, there’s plenty of places to pull your boots on and put some elbow grease in.

If you’re closer to the city, you can help make meals in the kitchens of FareShare in Brisbane and Melbourne, or put your interest in volunteering at your local Foodbank.

Got room to spare in your home, or a family holiday house not being used, or a campervan in the yard that could do with a bit of love? The legends over at FindABed are helping to connect Aussies who are without somewhere to stay with those who have an extra bed or two. Have a chat with the family/housemates and register your place over on the FindABed website for someone needing crisis housing, if that’s something you’re able to offer.

Contact Your Local MP

This one might feel a little daunting but it’s probably one of the simplest ones on the list. Contacting your local member of parliament to express your feelings about the way the bushfire crisis relief is being handled by the government, or where you believe needs more assistance, if and how the bushfires have affected you, and what you want the sitting government to do about it.

Your best layout for a letter to your local MP is to introduce yourself and how long you’ve been living in the electorate, personal stories about how and why the bushfire crisis is of concern to you, three to four points of what needs to be done and finish off with what you want to see the government do.

To check what your electorate is, and who your relevant MP is, punch in your suburb over on the AEC website. From there, you can get the details of your MP over on the Parliament of Australia website.

Get Knitting

If you’re handy with some needles and yarn, you can totally knit pouches for orphaned wildlife. You can donate everything from joey pouches to knitted nests to WIRES and Wildcare QLD to help give wee ones somewhere warm to live.

Wildlife Victoria also tends to take in pouches year-round but are currently inundated with donations, so maybe think about sending them some pouches later in the year – we all know how cold winter gets in Melbourne.

Attend A Crisis Protest March

Another way to get your voice heard is to get involved in a good ol’ fashioned demonstration, where your presence is counted as being part of a community that demands change in the face of climate crisis. Protest marches are being organised for major cities across the country on Friday, January 10, calling for firefighters to get adequate pay, aid for fire-ravaged communities, for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to stand down, and an immediate shift away from fossil fuels.

It’s reported that these protests will still be held, despite police calling for them to not happen on Friday when the weather is expected to hit high temperatures again.

Check out the Climate Change Protests Australia website for information on your local event.

Image: AAP / David Mariuz