The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) has spent a week visiting northern NSW towns and gifting 188 donated $1,000 cash cards to families who were impacted by the bushfires that tore through the regions late last year.

Part of RRT’s $1 million Operation Fire Relief, the initiative aims to support families affected by the bushfires.

RRT, supported by volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC), also put on a free BBQ lunch and refreshments where locals came out to grab some lunch and support each other.

Lester Sharples, RRT Operations Manager says this is an important initiative for communities in need.

These events are about bringing the community together to have a bite to eat, a chat with mates and support each other through some tough times,” Mr Sharples said.

“I don’t think there is a person in Australia who hasn’t been affected in some way by the devastating fires and the horrific images this summer.”

“But what has been heartening to see is the Aussie spirit and comradery of sticking together and helping each other out in times of need.

“And one of the most important things we can do is be there on the ground to show people they are not alone, particularly after the cameras have gone and the attention is elsewhere.

“The rebuild for these communities is just beginning and the RRT is here to support in any way we can,” he said.

Erin Stevenson, a local Richmond Valley resident whose home was destroyed by fires was one of the recipients of the cash voucher.

“The fire hit fast and wiped out 90% of our property. My son was the only one home. His quick thinking ensured the safety of our animals and his life as he taught himself to drive and evacuated with dogs and baby emu in tow,” Mrs Stevenson said.

“The support received by RRT will help considerably as we repair and rebuild.  Especially appreciated as it comes in the months following the fires when funds are low.”

Richard and Patricia Tyndall from Blaxland Creek also expressed their gratitude for the support.

“We lost our home on the 9th of November. Fortunately, we weren’t there at the time. It’s a huge loss – it’ll take some time to get over completely. We should have packed the photos, which we didn’t.”

“We’re very thankful for the Rapid Relief Team coming to our area and helping us. Even though it might seem small, every little bit helps when you’ve lost everything.”

Operation Fire Relief visited Richmond Valley, Grafton, Nana Glen, Nambucca Heads and Kempsey.

So far, the RRT, through its Operation Fire Relief initiative, has been able to assist 270 families who have lost their homes in New South Wales, in what has been one of the worst fire seasons on record. 

Registrations for the $1000 voucher can be made online at

100 cents in every dollar raised by the RRT as part of its fire and drought initiatives goes directly to benefit communities impacted right across NSW, Queensland and Victoria.