Two Area Businesses Holding Fundraiser To Help Those Affected By Australian Wildfires

One of the organizers had to flee the 2016 forest fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta

The raging wildfires in Australia have hit home to the organizers of a fundraiser in Orillia.

Lauren McEachern of The Fifty Acre Garden says her family was uprooted in 2016 by forest fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta.

The Oro Medonte businesswoman has partnered with Melanie Robinson, owner of Eclectic Cafe in Orillia, to host a fundraiser for the Red Cross, with all proceeds being directed to fighting wildfires in Australia.

“In 2016 our family was evacuated from forest fires in Fort McMurray, Alberta. It was an extremely emotionally and financially challenging time,” says organizer Lauren McEachern. “Through my job I also met, and heard dozens of stories from, people whose families and businesses were shattered from our fires. It cemented for me how absolutely devastating this experience can be; but I can also say that I have lived these Red Cross programs in Canada and can speak to their impact.”

Community members are invited to participate in a silent auction, make a personal donation, or enjoy a sweet treat made specifically for this event, proceeds going directly to the cause.

Right now, the Australian Red Cross is delivering basics like food and water, arranging emergency accommodation, locating missing loved ones, and starting a cash grant program that will help people meet their immediate needs in addition to supporting local businesses.

Donations will be accepted in cash, cheque, or through the organizers’ fundraising page at OLBFundraiser (already open for donations!). Personal donations of $20 or more are eligible for a Charitable Tax Receipt.

The event is taking place on Saturday, Feburary 1, at Eclectic Cafe, 39 Mississaga Street West, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

More information: Lauren McEachern, at (705) 984-4965, or