ARARAT group B & G Fire Relief travelled to East Gippsland over the weekend to deliver donations to fire-affected communities.
The newly-established group, headed by Brodie Hunter and Georgia Lawson, has been fundraising for fire-affected communities over the past month and personally delivered the items on Saturday.
Mr Hunter, Ms Lawson, along with Chris and Sarah Day, left bright and early at 7am on Saturday, a day where the smoke haze was particularly strong over Ararat, and drove to Bairnsdale.
They took two utes and two tandem trailers "packed full", Ms Lawson said.
While it was hard to estimate the total value of goods collected, Ms Lawson said it was around the $5000 to $8000 mark, and it included lots of toiletries, bottled water, and small essential items that people would be struggling to access.
The group delivered the items to a storage shed at Dahlsens Mitre 10, where they met with Rotary Club Bairnsdale members.
The Rotary Club had liaised with the group in the lead-up as to what items to collect.
"We were met with open arms," Ms Lawson said.
Ms Lawson also said the community's gratitude for the donations was clear.
"They were under the impression it was a few boxes so they were literally blown away when we pulled up," she said.
They also saw other groups helping with donations of their own.
"We saw the Gippsland Fire relief set up inside the Mitre 10 which had all these lovely people volunteering their time sorting through food, water and toiletries for people to come and collect," Ms Lawson said.
"We also saw a lot of soldiers from the Defence Force driving around and helping out, which was great."
Ms Lawson said the small group made sure to steer clear of any fire-affected areas.
"It felt really disrespectful to go and sticky beak at all these peoples homes turned to ash and I also didn't want to because it just would have broken my heart further actually seeing it in person," she said.
"All those homes, land, business and animals lost - it's just not something I could handle.
"So we decided Bairnsdale was our last stop because it was safe. It was very smoky and very windy. I was terrified of that wind."
Ms Lawson thanked several community groups and businesses who contributed to the fundraising efforts.
"We just want to say thanks to Mitre 10 in Ararat, Stacpoole Mechanical, the Rotary Club (of Ararat), Harris Automotive and Ararat Landmark for all their help," she said.
Each group or businesses contributed goods, cash or equipment to help the group make the trip.
On their Facebook page the group also thanked the Stawell Library, Ararat Repco and The North Store for being collection points for people to drop donations, as well as Vic Poultry Fire Relief "for making a huge donation of livestock feed".
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