Australians in Calgary organize fundraisers for wildfire relief
CALGARY -- Heavy rainstorms and winds are rolling through parts of Australia as devastating wildfires continue to burn in that country.
At least 28 people have died and thousands of homes and buildings have been destroyed by the fires.
Half a world away, Australian expats in Calgary are rallying together to hold fundraisers to help their home country.
Jared Belfrage was born in Melbourne and moved to Calgary nearly a decade ago. With a nod to his Aussie roots, he started Long Hop Brewing last year.
Belfrage said he’s been closely watching the bushfires in Australia and knew he wanted to help, so he’s teamed up with other local breweries to raise money.
Over the Australia Day weekend, Belfrage and Legend 7 Brewing are hosting an event at 4025 Ninth Ave. S.E. with proceeds going to the Australian Red Cross. It starts at 3 p.m. on Jan. 25 and includes a silent auction. Food and beer proceeds will also go to charity.
The Calgary Kangaroos Australian Football Club are also raising funds during their Australia Day event on Jan. 24. It starts at 6 p.m. at The Unicorn Pub at 223 Eighth Ave. S.W.
One of the organizers, Gareth Williams, said the group hopes to raise $20,000 by raffling off the chance to win prizes including hockey tickets and gift cards donated by local businesses.
There are also several ways to support fire evacuees, wildlife and firefighters.
The Australian Red Cross has several evacuation and recovery centres in the country. The Salvation Army is also collecting donations to help provide food and water to fire crews and people who have been evacuated.