Australian comedian Celeste Barber has been applauded for her Facebook fundraiser, which has raised more than $50 million at the time of publication. Her campaign is the largest ever hosted on the social media platform. Raising money for The Trustee of New South Wales Rural Fire Service and Brigades, it’s not millionaires donating to her fundraiser, but more than a million everyday people chipping in small amounts of money. Her star power has seen the likes of Kris Jenner and Katie Couric sharing her Instagram posts to help add support.
Last week, Ms Barber posted an Instagram story questioning how more than $1 billion was raised within days of the Notre Dame fire in Paris, asking why more billionaires do not appear to have donated to the Australian bushfire appeal. Ms Barber, who won fans with her celebrity parodies on Instagram, has attracted more than one million donations from around the world, AAP reports.
“It’s just hit me, it’s so much money… it’s incredible,” Ms Barber said in an online post. She also posted footage of her New South Wales south coast-based mother-in-law, Joy Robin, who was caught up in the fires. “This is our war. This fire is Australia’s war,” an upset Ms Robin says at the height of the bushfire disaster in the video clip posted on Ms Barber’s Instagram and Facebook accounts. “I’m fine, I’ve got a car, I’ve got somewhere to be safe but look at all these…all these people haven’t.”
The money raised by Ms Barber’s campaign will go to the registered charity New South Wales Rural Fire Service and Brigades Donations Fund. Pledged donations are due between 15 and 90 days. “So it’s going to the RFS and it will be distributed out,’’ she told followers. “So I’m gonna make sure that Victoria gets some, that South Australia gets some, also families of people who have died in these fires, the wildlife. I get it, I get it all, I’m hearing you all. I want you to know that, otherwise why raise this money if it’s not going to go to the people who absolutely need it.”
To donate to Celeste Barber’s campaign, follow the links via her social media accounts.
Meanwhile, Elton John and Chris Hemsworth are among the celebrities donating big bucks for relief efforts as wildfires engulf parts of Australia.
Hemsworth, the Australian actor who plays Thor in the Marvel movie franchise, took to social media to share that he will donate $1 million and asked his millions of followers to show support as well. He said that “every penny counts”.
So far, the wildfires have scorched an area twice the size of the US state of Maryland. The blazes have killed 27 people at the time of publication and destroyed 2000 homes. The fires, fuelled by drought and the country’s hottest and driest year on record, have been raging since September, months earlier than is typical for Australia’s annual wildfire season.
Mr John announced during his Farewell Yellow Brick Road concert in Sydney, Australia, that he will also donate $1 million. The singer said he wanted to bring attention to the devastation that wildfires have caused, saying it has reached a “biblical scale”.
Mr Hemsworth and Mr John join a growing list of celebrities who have pledged to donate toward relief efforts, including Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rebel Wilson, Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue and heavy metal band Metallica.
“I am totally devastated watching what is happening in Australia right now with the horrific bushfires,” Pink wrote in a recent social media post. “I am pledging a donation of $500,000 directly to the local fire services that are battling so hard on the frontlines.”
Metallica announced a donation of $750,000 to Victorian firefighting agencies.
Australian actress Rose Byrne spoke about the crisis and the relief efforts at the New York premiere of her movie Like a Boss.
“Really what people need is just donations because it’s all volunteer based, the firefighters and all the rural services and the wildlife services trying to rescue the animals,” she said.
“It’s devastating. It’s such a beautiful country. There’s always drought but this is the hottest year on record and they need rain but a lot of rain, not just a little bit which is what’s happening now. They need like a downpour, downpour and it’s just getting hotter and it’s getting more and more out of control. It’s a climate crisis is what it is.”
At the Golden Globes on Sunday, Phoebe Waller-Bridge said she would auction off her Globe outfit and have the proceeds go to firefighter relief.
Russell Crowe wasn’t at the Globes to accept his trophy for best actor in a limited series or TV movie for playing former Fox CEO Roger Ailes in the Showtime miniseries The Loudest Voice.
Instead, the actor was in Australia trying to protect his home from the wildfires, sending a speech that Jennifer Aniston read.
“Make no mistake, the tragedy unfolding in Australia is climate change-based,” Crowe’s statement said. “We need to act based on science, move our global workforce to renewable energy and respect our planet for the unique and amazing place it is. That way, we all have a future.”