Australian comedian and writer Celeste Barber, known for her #CelesteChallengeAccepted Instagram posts, has raised over $7 million in 24 hours for the NSW RFS and to help rebuild communities affected by the bushfires.
Barber, who shared photos of her mother-in-law’s home in Eden on the NSW south coast – surrounded by an orange sky as a result of the fires – launched the fundraiser called “Please help anyway you can.
This is terrifying”.
Originally setting a $20,000 goal on her Facebook page on Friday afternoon, the comedian appealed to her followers to donate whatever they could to assist firefighters in their efforts to battle blazes.
By 5pm on Saturday evening, over 170,000 people had donated a combined $7.6 million to the fund that will go towards people in rural, regional, and remote communities, victims of disaster, and the general community affected by the fires.
Comments on the fundraising page indicate that donations are not only coming from Australians wanting to support those affected, but pouring in from all across the globe, including the US, UK, New Zealand, the Philippines, Canada, Japan, Italy, Denmark, and more.
The fires have decimated an estimated 5.9 million hectares of land and killed at least 20 people since the start of the bushfire season, with a number of fundraisers set up to support wildlife sanctuaries and hospitals, local fire brigades and ravaged communities.
Barber took to her Instagram stories on Friday to thank the people who’ve already donated to her fundraiser, and shared other outlets that international donors could give money to including the Red Cross and WIRES.
“You guys don’t f*** around when it comes to donating and being excellent and helping out people,” she said in her Instagram stories while holding back tears.
“I’m gonna bang it up to $100K.”Within an hour of that update, she raised the goal to $250,000, and has continued to raise the goal to its current point at $8 million.
Barber also shared a message on Instagram from a firefighter who said that the $4 million in donations — the total that had been raised at the time he sent the message — could purchase 40,000 face masks for fire fighters to protect them from carcinogens in the air.
Celebrities including Miranda Kerr, US journalist Katie Couric, Lisa Rinna, Gary Janetti, and Bachelor star Elly Miles have all shared Barber’s fundraiser, as well as Australian fashion designer Alex Perry, who has pledged 100% of all online and in-store sales of his brand ‘Alex Perry’ over the next seven days to be donated to bushfire relief.
To donate to Barber’s fundraiser, click here.
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