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‘Do our part’: Halifax businesses rally together on Australia Day to help with wildfire relief

Click to play video: 'Halifax businesses rally together on Australia Day to help with wildfire relief' Halifax businesses rally together on Australia Day to help with wildfire relief
WATCH: In honour of Australia Day — the national holiday celebrated annually on Jan. 26 — some Halifax pubs are serving up support for the fire-ravaged country. Alexa MacLean has more – Jan 26, 2020

Australia may be a world away but for Canadians raising donations in support of wildfire recovery efforts, no distance is too great to help fellow humans during their time of need.

“As a Canadian, everyone needs to do their part. I’m just hoping that we can sell as much stuff as we can to support Australia.”

“With all the fires and stuff going on, we’re donating to the Irwin’s family zoo, so we really want to help out the animals and do our part,” Kyler Saunders, a chef with HopYard Halifax, said.

READ MORE: Canadian Forces plane, crew heading to Australia to fight bushfires

Saunders inspired a menu dedicated to Australian food in honour of Australia Day — it’s the national holiday of Australia celebrated annually on Jan. 26.

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Click to play video: 'Canadians pay tribute to friends in Australia on Australia Day' Canadians pay tribute to friends in Australia on Australia Day
Canadians pay tribute to friends in Australia on Australia Day – Jan 26, 2020

While Australia Day celebrations in Canada are common at many bars and restaurants, a unique fundraising twist was added to this year’s profits.

“…anything that we sell on the special menu. So, I’ve created a ‘bonza burger’ and a Lamington cake. So, all those proceeds will go completely to our donation to the Australian Wildlife Zoo,” Saunders said.

Official reports out of Australia, state that more than 27.7 million acres of land has been torched. That’s nearly half the size of the United Kingdom. Alexa MacLean/Global Halifax

‘Bonza’ is Australian slang used to describe something that’s first-rate, or A1 quality.

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While the celebration of Australian culture and traditions can be felt worldwide on Australia Day, for Perth-born Jordanna Caine, being thousands of miles away from home is particularity challenging knowing the tragedy the country is experiencing.

“It’s just been one hit after another after another, between the droughts that’s been ongoing for a long time that preceeds even the bushfires.”

“On top of that, the bushfires and the devastation to the people and their property and the animals, and the wildlife and nature — it’s kind of apocalyptic and it weighs very heavy,” Caine said.

Click to play video: 'Albertans raise money for Australia wildfire victims' Albertans raise money for Australia wildfire victims
Albertans raise money for Australia wildfire victims – Jan 25, 2020

Caine has been living in Canada for over a decade but keeps her home country close to her heart.

She’s a member of the Good Robot Brewing Company team and helped lead an in-house fundraising event for wildfire relief.

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“We’re doing 50/50 because I want to support the people and the wildlife. So, half of the money will go to the Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and half to WIRES Wildlife rescue,” Caine said.

READ MORE: With countless animals dead in Australia’s flames, researchers eye ‘carcass composting’

While both Saunders and Caine are connected through the food and beverage industry, they’re two of thousands of people who have been moved by news of the devastation happening on the other side of the planet — a distance Caine hopes to shrink through her efforts to organize funds and help with recovery.

“I’m just so happy with the amount of support and people who have come out, because they really just want to make a difference and this is a wonderful way for them to contribute to the bushfire relief,” Caine said.

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