Disaster Aid Canada Collects $60,000.00 for Australian Bushfire Relief
Gerry Beltgens, Executive Director, Disaster Aid Canada
Disaster Aid Canada (DAC) has received more than $60,000.00 Canadian in donations from across Canada for Australian Bushfire Relief. On Friday, February 7th we made a wire transfer to Rotary Australia World Community Services (RAWCS) at the RBC Branch in Ladysmith. In the photo are Sabrina Morgan, Administration, Sandra Milne, Rotary Club of Ladysmith President,  Frank Elsom, DAC President, Jake Buinewood, DAC Director, and Gerry Beltgens, DAC Executive Director.
RAWCS will apply for matching grants from Rotary International and other sources that may double or more the impact of the original donations. Rotary Clubs in the affected areas will be able to apply for rebuilding funds for local projects. Rotary Clubs from around the world are responding to the crisis and additional money will be distributed soon.
“Several projects have already been established for specific bushfire areas around Australia. The Australia Rotary District Governors have formed a committee that will decide where the funds are to be distributed. We would typically utilize local Rotary Clubs on the ground in affected areas to identify those families, Individuals, and small businesses in most need,” said John Stockbridge, National Communications Manager for Rotary Australia World Community Services Ltd (RAWCS)
DAC has received donations from all across Canada and some were very special. The Grade 4 Girls at Ecole Puntledge Park Elementary School in Courtenay, BC raised $106.05 and an anonymous Grade 3 class donated $566.70 each from their Bake Sale for the Australian Bushfire relief. We love when young people are encouraged to help out in the world.
Staff at Crosslinx Transit Solutions teamed up to send us a donation of $1,200.00 and added the note. "From your mates at Crosslinx Transit Solutions-Construction, in Toronto." We suspect there are some people from the Land Down Under working there so "Good on ya Mates!”
Some people shared their own experiences with Bushfires; “I used to belong to the Colac West Rotary club in Australia. In the early 1980s, our club physically helped with the cleanup of fire-damaged areas in the Western District of the State of Victoria. The experience was life-changing - we couldn't even remove burnt trucks from sheds as the axles were welded together…”
Disaster Aid will continue to keep the appeal open for as long as it is needed and will send donations each month to the Australian Fund. “Working with Rotarians on the ground in the affected areas ensures the best use of donated money,” said Frank Elsom, President of Disaster Aid Canada.”
Much of the money has come from Rotarians and Rotary Clubs but most of the money has been donated anonymously through “Canada Helps” a charity pay portal that collects the donations and provides the donor with tax receipts from DAC. Disaster Aid Canada is a registered Canadian Charity as well as an official “Collaborative Organisation of Rotary Organisation.”
“Working with Rotary partners is an important criterion of our decision to support communities impacted by natural and other disasters,” said Elsom. “We are a relatively small organization and do not have the resources compared to the Red Cross or United Way. Our strength is the ability to mobilize Rotarians.” 
For more information contact: 
Gerry Beltgens
E.D. Disaster Aid Canada
Rotary Club of Ladysmith
250-739-3887 (cell)
250-661-9665 (office)