The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Toiletries & Sanitary Items For Bushfire Victims – Appeal Closed (For Now!)

Posted by Clem Bastow on February 10, 2009

By now everyone will be aware of the dreadful bushfires that are currently razing Victorian towns and leaving hundreds homeless. There are a variety of fundraisers and collections going on, and we’d like to draw your attention to a small but vital need expressed by those currently in the respite centres.

I’m organising a collection of toiletries, women’s sanitary items, disposable razors and shampoo/conditioner (and any other small bathroom/toiletry essentials) to be delivered to the major “base camp” refuges in the fire zone. The command centres and volunteers have expressed a need for these items and what exists in the shops that remain won’t last long as (obviously) there are no deliveries being made.

In monetary terms it’s not even a drop in the ocean (i.e. $10 for some pads and tampons, or a set of shampoo and conditioner, or some kids’ toothbrushes – just pop them in the trolley along with your other groceries) but will make a huge difference to someone who has nothing and needs to restore a bit of humanity and dignity amongst the destruction. The small relief of something as simple as having a preferred brand of tampon or the ability to have a shave in these circumstances should not be underestimated.

I will be doing a “drop-off”/pick-up at Triple R (corner of Nicholson & Blyth Streets, East Brunswick; end of 96 tram line) on WEDNESDAY of this week, during office hours: 10am to 6pm. The time and day is non-negotiable but we hope this won’t be an obstacle to people’s charity!

PLEASE NOTE: we will NOT be able to accept food/perishables, or clothes/blankets. There are other drives doing so including the Salvos and Coles (etc). We don’t want to discourage you from giving generously, just that we won’t have the people-power/infrastructure to include food and clothing delivery.

What we WILL be glad to accept:

* pads and tampons (and maternity and incontinence pads)
* disposable razors (both “genders”) and shave creams
* shampoo and conditioner
* hand sanitizer
* nappies in a variety of sizes (and Pull-Ups, Goodnights etc)
* toothbrushes and toothpaste
* soap
* toiletry bags (preferably stuffed with all of the above!)

Hope to see some of you there to fill some “Coles bags” for the bushfire victims.

Any questions (or if you’d like to be “on call” to volunteer/sort in case we get swamped – which we hope we do!) email clembastow[AT] with a relevant subject.


The collection is continuing tomorrow after a HUGE and amazing day of support for the bushfire victims; seven truckloads of supplies were delivered to the relief centres in Wallan, Diamond Creek and Whittlesea. We have received updated needs/lists from the relief centres and will now also accept:

* Towels
* Torches
* Batteries
* Washing Powder and cleaning wipes
* Nokia and other phone chargers
* Outdoor Gloves
* Sunglasses, hats
* Lipbalm and Chapstiks (etc)
* Sunblock

More details can be found on the RRR website here.


Thanks to all who donated and volunteered for your amazing efforts – we will be unable to accept any more donations for the time being, but will be running similar drives again once bushfire victims have been housed, so keep an eye on the RRR website (and The Dawn Chorus!) for more information in the future. Once again, thank you all!


27 Responses to “Toiletries & Sanitary Items For Bushfire Victims – Appeal Closed (For Now!)”

  1. Nicole Marafioti said

    Hi Clem

    Can you advise if you are doing this in conjunction with a charity and if so which one. Alternatively if you’re taking this on yourself can you let me know how you intend getting the products to the victims. My husband and I think you’re the greatest.


  2. Clem Bastow said

    Hi Nicole, just doing this independently – we will be liaising with the relief centres tomorrow to see who needs what, and then arranging our convoy of donated KMs and petrol tanks to deliver the supplies.

  3. Staci said

    Hi Clem,

    Just to check, you HAVE pre-arranged directly for this to happen with the command/respite centres, and they ARE expecting you? Not to doubt you, but just making sure that these donations are specifically directed and requested. Would hate to double up on things that have already been sorted out otherwise. I have also sent you an email offering my assistance if required.


  4. Ann-Marie said

    Thanks for doing this.
    Is it possible to drop stuff off tonight if we can’t get there tomorrow?


  5. Fi said


    Just wondering if off-the-shelf supermarket medicine (Panadol, Naprogesic, etc.) would be accepted or is needed (as far as you know)?


  6. Felicity said

    Hi Clem,

    I have a brand new breast pump and a few brand new bottles along with some essential baby items ie nappies, wipes etc. Will you take these items as well?


  7. […] states in Australia are sending emergency workers. Clem Bastow of The Dawn Chorus is organising a collection of toiletries – tampons, sanitary pads, razors, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes – the very basics for people who have nothing left, but their lives. John Quiggan has details about […]

  8. blu-k said

    I thought you might be interested/outraged to know about the Catch the Fire ministries blaming the bushfires on Victoria’s new abortion laws. From

    “Abortion laws to blame for bush fires?”

    According to today’s Catch the Fire Ministries press release:

    Churches throughout Victoria have rallied together to assist the bush fire ravaged communities of Victoria. Coordinated by Catch the Fire Ministries (CTFM), four trucks have been booked to distribute essential relief items such as clothes and food to consolidate the efforts of the Salvation Army in assisting suffering families. CTFM is calling on all people, Christians and non-Christians alike, to donate blood via the Red Cross. Please visit their website at for more details.

    We at CTFM, along with the rest of the Christian community, are in absolute shock, grieving at the loss of life, property, and the immense suffering of all those affected. We offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of all those who have lost loved ones, homes, businesses, and their livelihood.

    CTFM leader, Pastor Danny Nalliah said he would spearhead an effort to provide every assistance to devastated communities, although he was not surprised by the bush fires due to a dream he had last October relating to consequences of the abortion laws passed in Victoria.

    He said these bushfires have come as a result of the incendiary abortion laws which decimate life in the womb. Besides providing material assistance, CTFM will commence a seven day prayer and fasting campaign for the nation of Australia tomorrow Wednesday the 11th February.

    CTFM has called upon all Australian Bible-believing God-fearing Christians to repent and call upon the Lord Jesus Christ for His mercy and protection over Australia once again.

    “Yesterday (Monday 9th February 2009), the front page of the Herald Sun newspaper reported “The Darkest hour for Victoria”. A few months ago the news media should have reported “The darkest hour for the unborn” but unfortunately the “Decriminalization of Abortion bill” went through parliament and was passed, thus making many people call Victoria “the baby killing state of Australia,'” Mr Nalliah said.

    He said on November 7 last year we had sent out an email to our national network and a posting on our website carried an urgent post titled, “STOP PRESS. URGENT PRAYER NEEDED REGARDING AUSTRALIA, ESPECIALLY THE STATE OF VICTORIA” following a dream he had on the 21st of October 2008, which he shared with his team on 22nd October.

    Following is an excerpt from the dream which was published in the article.

    “In my dream I saw fire everywhere with flames burning very high and uncontrollably. With this I woke up from my dream with the interpretation as the following words came to me in a flash from the Spirit of God.

    That His conditional protection has been removed from the nation of Australia, in particular Victoria, for approving the slaughter of innocent children in the womb.”

    “We at CTFM have spent the last few days in prayer and weeping, watching the news and learning that more than 170 people have perished and more than 750 houses have gone up in flames with much property and personal belongings of people all wiped out within hours,” he said.

    “Australia is based on Judeo-Christian values. How far have we as a nation moved from these principles instilled in our nation’s inception. How much does it take for a nation to return to God? The Bible is very clear, if you walk out of God’s protection and turn your back on Him, you are an open target for the devil to destroy.

    “Can we stop the fires? Yes we can! But it will take God’s children to rally together and repent and cry unto Him as in 2 Chronicles 7:14 (The Holy Bible). We at CTFM have seen this happen several times in the past in Australia, which was also covered by many mainstream media outlets.”

    “In our prayer and fasting campaign, we are particularly repenting for the passing of the ‘Decriminalization of Abortion Laws of Victoria’ in addition to other unrighteous, ungodly, and unjust laws and practices which have seen a holocaust of some of the most helpless members of the human race, the unborn.”

    The seven day national prayer and fasting campaign will culminate on Wednesday 18th of February with a united prayer and repentance solemn assembly from 12pm to 2pm at the Victorian State Parliament building. (venue is subject to confirmation – see for details)

    Pastor Nalliah urged Christians to attend the gathering at the Victorian State Parliament on February 18 to stand in solidarity in this hour of crisis for the nation. CTFM calls on all Australians to declare the 18th February as a National Day of Prayer, Repentance, and Mourning.

    CTFM will be collecting the following relief items tomorrow on Wednesday the 11th of February from 10am to 8pm at the church located at 23 Melverton Drive, Hallam Melways ref 96 G 2.

    Items needed include: Dry Rations — Sugar, Milk Powder, Coffee, Tea bags, Canned food, Cereals, etc., Clothes — Under wear (NEW), Shorts, T/Shirts etc – New or good as new., Toiletries – Towels, Tooth Paste, Tooth Brushes, Soap, Shampoo, Toilet Paper., Bed Linen — Pillows, Pillow Cases, Sheets etc., Crockery — Plates, Cups, Mugs, Knifes, Spoons, Folks etc.

    The goods would be distributed on Thursday 12th February throughout various bush fire effected areas.

    May God Bless Australia with His Rains of Mercy!

  9. Clem Bastow said

    Fi: the first aid crews (etc) should be right for those things.
    Felicity: yes! They definitely need baby-related supplies as well.

  10. lynn.wabbit said

    Hi Clem,

    Would it be possible to drop-by after 6pm? As I am working on the other side of the city and don’t think I can make it by 6pm …

    Otherwise, would appreciate if you can let me know of other alternatives who are also collecting similar items.


  11. Hey Clem, thanks for this initiative. Nice one.

    I know it’s not on the list, but is there any chance tissues could be included? There will be many tears to come for a long time and besides the tears, tissues are a very practical item for general care. If yes, what’s best? pocket tissues or boxes?

  12. […] call for help here. Posted in donate, […]

  13. Clem Bastow said

    Hi Lissane, pocket tissues would definitely be welcomed.

    Lynn, we’ll likely be there a while after 6pm so drop past.

    I just want to stress that we WON’T be able to accept items that have been used, even if the lids are just opened and no contents used. It might seem petty/picky but the point of this process is to make people feel a bit more human with some nice new stuff that right now they don’t have the time/money/inclination to buy.

  14. Jim Hart said

    Great idea Clem – my partner heard about it on RRR and I’ll drop stuff off later. In addition to personal contributions, I wonder if anyone reading this blog has a connection to an airline or major hotel group. Qantas puts hundreds of toiletry packs on every international flight so I’m sure they wouldnt miss a few cartons of those. And hotels must stock hundreds if not thousands of small soaps and shampoo bottles etc, many of which end up as useless unused souvenirs.

  15. LISA HARRIS said

    terrific news, however, can we do it tomorrow as well. I know they’ll be heaps at the uni I work at that would donate. do you have any details of where we can drop off toiletries?



  16. Alicia said

    Hi Clem,

    This is an awesome idea, but are there any other drop-off points? I work in Clayton until 5, and won’t be able to get there by 6 as I can’t drive.

  17. Aimee said

    Hi Clem,

    I think what you’re doing is great. You may be interested to know that Infoxchange are organising deliveries of these types of donations – – if you’re still looking for some definite distribution options.



  18. Clem Bastow said

    Hi everyone, we’ll still be accepting stuff tomorrow – an updated list can be found on the Triple R website!

  19. […] of people helping out, from finding ways to respond in a local manner to immediate needs – such as Clem Bastrow of the Dawn Chorus drive for toiletries,  to internationally, –  this guy from Toronto, Canada is auctioning his guitar to raise money […]

  20. jeff said

    Hi Clem, if you need help transporting goods i have a ute and a truck licence if any of this helps or is uesful to you in any way dont hesitate to contact me.
    Well done on all your great work

  21. Lisa said

    Hi Clem

    I bought stuff yesterday from Priceline (Centerpoint Bouke street Mall), and whilst I was there I asked if I could have a discount due to the cause it was for and they gave me 10% off.

    Also one of the managers there wanted to give me four medium sized boxes of small wash towels, I had to decline as my mate who was delivering it to RRR was doing so on a motorbike. I understand that you can’t go picking everything up from everyone, however if you feel that these would be really useful and have the time then you can ring and ask for Peter to arrange for it to happen.

    If not then maybe I should email as per Aimee’s suggestion.


  22. Ann-Marie said

    Do you need any vols to come in on Sat to help sort/pack stuff? I have some things i want to drop off and can stay for a couple of hours..?

  23. Kat said

    @ Jim Hart

    I know that the firm which my partner works for have donated thousands of shaving kits and razors.

    They are also in discussion regarding providing surplus airline toiletries.

  24. Paul said

    Hi Clem

    I’ve been volunteering at the Wallan relief centre and have been sorting your tolietries donations. The volume of your collection was massive and took 6 of us all day to sort. What an amazing effort on yours and RRR’s behalf.

    Everyone at the relief centre was amazed at what one small community can achieve when pulled together and are very gratefull for your contribution.

    I’ll be travelling from Brunswick to Wallan on a regular basis and would be more than happy to assist in furutre deliveries if you need.


  25. Clem Bastow said

    Paul, that’s great news.

    To everyone else who donated, THANK YOU. In the end we sent out thirteen loads worth of donated items to the Wallan, Whittlesea and Diamond Creek relief centres, and ten of those were trucks. We’ll keep you all posted via the RRR website of any future donation drives/fundraisers.

    Once again, thank you all! x

  26. Kat said

    No! Thank you Clem for organising!

    And Paul, thank you for taking the time to comment here (as well as the volunteering).

  27. Ben said


    I work in Brisbane and my team would like to do something to help out. We were thinking of a canned food drive. Does anyone know if food is needed? If so, does anyone know what charity to get in contact with?


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