Tigard community helps organize fundraiser for Australian fires
The Tigard community is coming together to help those impacted by the bushfires in Australia.
On Feb. 1, there will be a mile-long walk at Cook Park to raise awareness about the devastating fires impacting millions of animals and people across Australia. There will also be a short video and a discussion about sending aid to the small town of Sarsfield, Victoria, where homes have been destroyed.
"Because they're so small, and they're in such a rural community, they often get overlooked and support tends to go to bigger cities," said event organizer Kathryn Leitl. "Don't get me wrong, they won't forget about them, (but) instead of being supported now, they'll be supported in maybe like a year."
Leitl is working with a Sarsfield local, Jen Eaton, to coordinate relief efforts. Eaton and her firefighter son have been displaced by the fires, said Leitl.
Leitl added that Eaton has been driving hours outside of town to bring back food and water to residents and animals in the area.
"(Money) for things like food and water and for the animals," explained Leitl about where the money would be allocated to. "For any resident who has pets (that) have been injured or now homeless."
Originally from Melbourne, the current Tigard resident has a goal to raise $5,000 with the help of the community.
"As Australians, I think we have more of a responsibility to help out," she said. "It's also really good she's going to be personally making sure that (the money) is going to be used properly and appropriately."
Leitl also has a plan make sure residents will receive the funds generated from the event. Eaton will be sending photos of what the aid will be used for, said Leitl.
Leitl said she's inspired by Australian comedian Celeste Barber, who raised $51 million dollars through Facebook toward rural firefighting efforts. She hopes the money will help people feel that they're not alone.
"It's just devastating," said Leitl. "You've literally got the clothes on your back, and everything is gone."
The Walk for Australian Bushfire Relief will be held on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at 17005 S.W. 92nd Ave. in Tigard.
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