TAREE residents are coming together, offering a helping hand to those in need, as bushfires continue to ravage the eastern coast.
Where they can't offer financial assistance, locals are offering their time, skills and resources. News outlets are offering free advertising, photographers are donating profits from their works, quilters are putting together protective gear for firefighters, and homeowners are offering shelter.
Considering themselves lucky as their property remains safe, the Stack family have opened their doors to friends, neighbours, and community members who haven't been as fortunate. A family of six, along with their abundance of pets, will be staying in the Stacks' shed as they wait for their home to be rebuilt.
"We've also had lots of people from the evacuation centre staying since Friday, and four helicopter pilots were here recently," Maurie Stack said.
But Mr Stack wanted to do more, sympathetic to those who have no home to go back to.
"Things are desperate up here, people are devastated. We're not sure of final numbers but many, many people have lost their homes, and you just can't help but feel sorry for these people," he said.
As a long-time active member of the Rotary, Mr Stack knew there was potential to do even more to help Taree's now homeless community members. With his support, Rotary has launched the Taree and MidCoast Bushfires Appeal.
"This means that not only are donations tax-deductible but the first $15,000 donated will attract a dollar for dollar matching grant from funds donated by Dick Smith," said local Rotary assistant governor Murray Difford.
Around $7000 was raised in the appeal's first two days, totaling $14,000 with the help of Dick Smith. Less than a week on, that figure has skyrocketed to $55,000.
"There's an enormous sense of generosity, people are giving what they can. There's $30, $40, $50 donations rolling in all the time, and then occasionally you see a massive amount like the $20,000 that came in this weekend," Mr Stack said.
He said an overwhelming amount of donations have come in the form of clothes, dog food, and more. But he acknowledges that the needs of some victims can only be solved by financial assistance.
"We're so grateful to everyone that's helped out, and we encourage you to make a cash donation if you can. All money raised will be offered to the bushfire victims in the form of prepaid EFTPOS cards, so these people can buy what they really need," he said.
The fund is now open, you can donate here.