Help floods in for fire victims


Merriwa couple Robin and Heather Mascall.
Help floods in for fire victims
Merriwa couple Robin and Heather Mascall.

Mr Mascall said he created Southwest Bushfire Donations on Facebook on Friday morning, after hearing how the fire devastated Yarloop.

“I then found that one of my friends had lost his house; thankfully he is safe with his wife and kids (but) sadly he has lost everything he owned,” he said.

“After going through a few Facebook pages and seeing a number of people asking where to go and what to do, I decided to set up the page. I felt that after seeing so many people lose all that they had, I couldn’t just sit by and watch.”

The page has received more than 5000 likes and has reached more than 500,000 people.

He said it grew so quickly that he asked his wife for help monitoring the group and added three more administrators over the next two days.

“I never expected a response this size,” he said.

“We’re kind of keeping up with the posts and requests now, but it has been full-on.”

Through the site, Mr and Mrs Mascall organised multiple collection points around Perth, including their Merriwa home, for donations of food, clothing and toys.

They received about 20 trailer loads of goods, which were transported by a Mandurah freight company and Mr Mascall to Pinjarra.

“We’ve been in touch with the evacuation centres, Vinnies, the Red Cross, Salvation Army and many more to try and organise distribution and work out what was needed and where,” he said.

“Heather has been in touch with many companies seeking help and advice. We have been contacted by people from as far away as Karratha and Kalgoorlie.”

The group has been inundated with offers, including free accommodation and vehicles.

“It started with one guy offering a ute up to someone in need; now we have been offered around 20 vehicles all as donations and are working to find them all new owners who need them,” he said.

Mr Mascall said they had been advised there was no longer enough storage to keep items so encouraged people to make financial contributions to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund, ensuring all money raised goes directly to those who need it most.

“We are requesting people either store them for now and wait until they are needed, or to have a garage sale and donate the funds to the fund,” he said.

“There are some requests for essentials and for animal feed; details are popping up on our page.”

He said people have been in disbelief as to how many items were collected and were very appreciative, including his friend in Yarloop. “He’s been overwhelmed by the generosity,” he said.

To donate visit www.appeals wa.org.au.