Public distrust in charities leads to a unique bushfire donation drive

By Daneka Hill

AS support for bushfire-effected animals starts to wind down, two Echuca ladies are just gearing up.

Sister’s Trish Harris and Karen Verrall are on a mission to help – and the animal lovers have cottoned onto a uniquely convenient way to do it.

They’ve set up an account at Echuca PETstock after discovering the warehouse buys in everything wildlife carers are crying out for.

Ms Harris said Echuca PETstock owner Terril Westwood had been “fantastic”.

“We rang PETstock and asked if they were happy for people to drop off donations, and Terril said that was fine,” Ms Harris said.

“She said she would even give a 10 per cent discount on those essential items.”

Ms Westwood said the 10 per cent discount was given to ensure sure PETstock wasn’t making a profit off the donation drive.

“I think this will be bigger than we expected because we opened the account yesterday and there is already $350 in it,” she said.

While donations of food and bandages are appreciated and can be handed into PETstock, Ms Harris and Ms Verrall are asking people to put money directly into their PETstock account.

The account will be emptied out on Sunday afternoon when the sisters buy as much of the right products as possible before making the drive down to the Warriors 4 Wildlife rescue organisation.

Ms Harris and Ms Verrall said the idea to deliver the donations directly to a rescue group started after noticing public distrust to some charities.

“We know there is all this stuff going around with charities not using money correctly, so we thought what could we do that would get donations directly to the animals?” Ms Harris said.

“Rather than us running around getting cash off everybody and having no accountability, this way feels better because they are giving to the place we will be buying the food from.”

Ms Verrall said she hoped their Sunday trip would not be their last.

“In time we could be going once a month with food,” she said.

To donate, ask to put money on ‘Trish and Karen’s account’ at Echuca PETstock.