GIVIT on hand to match needs with donors

GIVIT's Scott Barrett caught up with Mayor Peter Petty and others during a visit to Tenterfield and Drake to encourage local charity groups to register their needs with the organisation.

GIVIT's Scott Barrett caught up with Mayor Peter Petty and others during a visit to Tenterfield and Drake to encourage local charity groups to register their needs with the organisation.

On his drive up from his home base in Orange last week, GIVIT NSW drought relief manager Scott Barrett said he came through some very dry country on this stretch of his patch.

Scott was in town, coincidentally the same day as the Today Show, to meet with the mayor and local community groups to explain the service GIVIT offers which is, in effect, to act as a bridge between those with needs and those who can supply.

"I encourage any community organisation dealing with drought or fire needs to get in touch with us," he said.

Scott was in town to identify the immediate needs of vulnerable families and individuals, and coordinate donations of items such as white goods, grocery vouchers and school clothes for those struggling with financial hardship.

With the loss of 44 houses in the Drake fire alone and more damaged, he said needs can be great.

"We don't want kids to do without."

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With the end of the school year approaching, he said soon enough it will be back to school with children needing uniforms, shoes and supplies, sometimes needing a change of uniform if a student is moving on to high school.

He's amazed at the things people go without when dollars are tight, especially with the ongoing drought, and the charity isn't only for individuals and families. Scott said small community groups struggling to survive can also reach out for help.

Anyone in need should contact a charity group which in turn registers with GIVIT, and the need is listed. On the other side of the equation people can donate money or items, and businesses often make available goods that are excess to their needs.

Scott said often in times of crisis items donated aren't necessarily what people need, so the matching service avoids this issue. Items aren't held by GIVIT but rather are shipped from the sender to the charity once a match is secured, hence the 'virtual warehouse'.

The service is free, thanks to support from the state government.

"If we collect $20, we spend $20 in Tenterfield," Scott said.

The charity doesn't give cash, instead spending money in town to purchase items. He said local businesses are also doing it tough, and this approach helps them as well.

GIVIT first visited Tenterfield early last month and met with The Sir Henry Parkes Memorial Public School and the Tenterfield Social Development Committee, donating locally-purchased grocery and fuel vouchers to assist struggling drought-affected families.

This time around Scott was able to help with providing school shoes for some local students, working through a local charity, but he's also on the lookout for someone who can provide HS steel and cattle rail for handrails for the emergency evacuation centre out at Tenterfield Showground.

While in Drake he purchased vouchers from the general store and from the Resource Centre, which have been passed on to charities to distribute.

"We're always looking for ways to help out," he said.

The organisation works with more than 2700 charities nationwide, ranging from the Salvation Army and Australian Red Cross to smaller community groups and neighbourhood centres. It has donated more than 1.4 million items since 2009, including more than 100,000 items across drought-affected regions over the past year.

For more information go to givit.org.au.