5 Unique Ways Tri-State Is Helping Australia With Bushfire Relief

From cookies to plush toys, here's five unique ways people from the tri-state have come up with to help Australian fire relief efforts


1. Raising Awareness With Stuffed Koalas

New Yorkers may have seen stuffed animal koalas popping up around New York City lately. The agency, Cummins & Partners has Australian ties, more than half of their employees are Aussies. The team said it bounced ideas around after the holidays to see what they could do to raise awareness and donations for the animals affected by the bushfires in Australia. Three days later the team was placing stuffed koalas around the city for their Instagram page, @Koalasofnyc, and set up a Koalas of NYC GoFundMe page to raise money for WIRES. 

“We wanted to connect New Yorkers to what was happening on the other side of the world.” Diane Villavieja said. “It’s often difficult to really understand the impact of the bushfires unless you're there so this is our way of bringing the sense of the bushfires to New York and create attention to raise money and awareness.”

2. Rounding Up on Coffees

On Sunday, January 26, certain Bluestone Lane Café locations in major cities across the country will be hosting Australian Bushfire Appeal events. Bluestone Café had asked customers to round their purchases up to the nearest dollar at the beginning of the month, but founder Nick Stone wanted to do more.

“It’s just heartbreaking seeing my homeland in so much pain,” said Nick Stone, the founder of Bluestone Lane, who grew up in the state of Victoria.  “We feel compelled to raise funds to support the families and animals impacted by this catastrophic disaster. Our entire company will be mobilized to raise funds and awareness in support of the Australian bushfire appeal, giving back to our first home.”

3. Stickers for Endangered Species

Fordham University student Molly Browdowski decided to raise awareness by selling a sticker of her own original drawing of a koala. All of the money she makes from selling to sticker will go towards Australian charities. She has sold nearly 200 stickers.

She said she refused to feel like she couldn’t help while hearing about the fires on the news. “I knew I had to take action in some way, so why not use my love for art for good? The stickers were easy to create and I'm very happy that they have resonated with people. It's a small step, but I'm glad to be able to help, even if only a little bit.” Browdoski is charging $2.50 for the cute little guy on redbubble.

4. Drink for a Cause

On Thursday, Jan. 30, The Crosby in Montclair, NJ, is hosting a night of fun to bring the community together for a good cause. Lexi Dellermo is a manager at the family run business and said she has never really been an advocate but something about the bushfires felt different. “After reading so many articles and seeing what was going on in the news it just really broke my heart,” Dellermo said.

Dellermo said she was especially inspired by a bartender she works with, Alissa Fasciano, who knows a lot about animals. Dellermo said Fasciano was ecstatic to help plan something that could raise money for Australia and educate people about how the fires are affecting Australia’s wildlife, especially the animals.

“I’m not really educated on anything to do with out animals and I work with her everyday,” Dellermo said about Fasciano. “I see how much she wants to change lives and I want to help her grow her presence as an animal activist.” The Crosby is hoping to raise at least $10,000 to donate to Australia.

5. Cute Koala Cookies

Jeanne Centrone, the owner of Two Sweet Boutique, in Deptford, N.J., said the bakery created cute koala cookies to help Australia's recovery.  She said her daughter is a cake decorator and an animal lover and couldn’t let the opportunity to help pass her by. “We made a couple of cookies and posted it and it just took off,” Centrone said.

Two Sweet Boutique cut a check for $1,200 to Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital after the community came out to support the cause.

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