Mobile native living in Australia leads fire relief effort

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Mathew Hatcher grew up in Mobile, but he now lives along the southern coast of Australia. He says within the last week wildfires started to spread to where he lives in New South Wales. “I can’t explain the gravity of the situation on the ground,” said Hatcher.

The fires have left thousands of people across the country without homes or basic supplies. “People need things now. They need the necessities to get their life back on track and there’s no organization that can do that in this area quickly,” said Hatcher.

People around the world have been donating money, but Hatcher says it could take weeks for large-scale organizations to get supplies to those who need it. The fires have cut off access to many of the roads that lead into towns affected by the fires. Hatcher describes it as “a logistic nightmare.”

In the last few days Hatcher has spearheaded a large volunteer effort in his community. His team is taking monetary donations to buy supplies from local businesses. They are purchasing whatever people need, whether it be food or generators. Volunteers are personally driving those supplies to the people who need them. Hatcher says it’s a grassroots system that allows them to meet specific needs and also pumps money back into their local economy.

“$50 could go for a rake for a farmer or something. I don’t know where exactly the money is going to go. We just need the money there and it needs to be spent when it needs to be spent,” said Hatcher.

Hatcher and his team plan on working around the clock to help as many people as they can. He wants people to know the devastation is enormous and the fire threat for Australia is far from over.

Hatcher’s relief group just started a Facebook page called South Coast Donations Logistic Team where they plan on posting updates when they can.

There are several ways you can donate:

  • You can make a cash donation to Hatcher’s volunteer team through PayPal.
  • You can purchase a voucher through a cafe where funds will go to families in need.
  • Instagram page Spend With Them can put you in touch with a local Australian business where you can make donations directly.

Hatcher says by using one of these options to donate, your money is being put into the local economy saving jobs, small businesses, and making an immediate impact. 

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