Fighting fires with fundraising: students aid Australia

Marina Kazarian, Staff Writer

A bake sale held yesterday was the school’s first fundraising event to help alleviate the disastrous impact of the Australia wildfires. The wildfires, which have been burning for months, have killed over half a billion animals and over two dozen humans, and destroyed thousands of square miles of land and over 1,300 homes, according to CNN. The Australian Prime Minister is allotting $347 million to help rebuild communities harmed by the fires this year alone.
Joining forces with the Community Council and GreenHM, Student Body Presidents Isha Agarwal (12) and Roey Nornberg (12) have spearheaded efforts to raise both awareness and money for the cause. They are planning several fundraising events such as hosting bake sales at swim meets and basketball games.
“We’re thinking of making this more than one week and actually running it over the course of a month until we get our desired goal in terms of the money,” Nornberg said.
The initial fundraising goal is to raise at least a thousand dollars, but Agarwal said she hopes to raise a few thousand dollars “to try and truly make an impact.” Yesterday’s bake sale raised $613.75.
The money will go to the Australian Red Cross, whose mission is “to empower vulnerable people, making them safer and more resilient through the delivery of services and the promotion of humanitarian laws and values,” according to their website. “It has a wide variety of services they use for immediate relief, and they are a trustworthy donation center to help victims of Australia,” Agarwal said.
Lara Hersch (11) has several family members who live in Australia, and, even though their homes are not damaged by the fires due to their location, everyone there is impacted in some way, she said. For instance, her family friend’s house was destroyed, and, as a result, he helped start a fundraising campaign that has raised thousands of dollars to help rebuild.
“I was recently there over winter break, and, everywhere I went, there was a haze created by the fires,” Hersch said. “Everybody I’ve asked who has lived there their entire lives has told me that they’ve never experienced fires like this before.”
Nornberg said that the events in Australia are a global issue and constitute part of a recent chain of climate change-driven environmental catastrophes.
The focus of GreenHM is very closely tied to this cause as well, co-president of GreenHM Paul Wang (12) said. “Although they are important, at the end of the day, personal sacrifices alone are not going to solve our climate crisis,” he said. “I think the best way we can solve climate change is to elect the right people and hold corporations and legislators accountable.”
Climate change and sustainability were fundamental principles of the Student Body Presidents’ campaign platform, Agarwal said, and remain an important and pressing issue. “When the fires struck, we knew that as a school community it was important that we tried to help the thousands of people who are being affected by this disastrous event,” she said. “Raising money was the best and quickest way we thought to help out, due to the scary and urgent nature of the events.”