MILWAUKIE, Ore — From cappuccinos to pastries, customers at Wind Horse Coffee in downtown Milwaukie got more than just breakfast Sunday. They were one of more than a dozen local businesses in the area that raised money bush fire relief in Australia.
Darci Hildreth is the one-woman, driving force behind this "Australia Day" fundraiser.
“My mind just said, you have to do something,” Hildreth said.
More than 30 people have died in the fires, thousands of structures have been lost, and more than one billion animals are believed to have been killed.
Just last week three U.S. firefighters were killed in a plane crash while battling the flames.
Images of multiple fires ravaging homes, wildlife, and communities motivated Hildreth act. She has visited Australia twice and has a deep love for the people and animals there.
“It broke my heart. I just, I couldn't get over the fact that billions of animals were being destroyed, the ecosystem was being destroyed, people were losing entire towns,” she said.
So, Hildreth got to work. She went from business to business asking owners to help. In a matter of weeks about 15 businesses signed on. Each one either collecting donations or donating a portion of Sunday sales.
“They're all located in Australia. So, there's not middleman,” Hildreth said.
Ray Peck owns Wind Horse Coffee. He says it was easy for him to get on board with Hildreth’s efforts.
“You can kind of blow it off and say, 'Hey it's their problem, not ours.' Or you can really step in and be part of helping them out and making a contribution, making a difference. I'd imagine every dollar is going to make a difference that goes that way,” Peck said.
From the coffee at Wind Horse to the unique screen prints at Milwaukie Made and the aromatic aromas and herbs at Milwaukie Mercantile, shopping came with a little extra incentive Sunday.
“Everybody wanted to help because everybody knows what's going on over there and just stunned and not really sure how to do it. And this gave them an outlet,” Hildreth said.
On Friday, the participating local businesses will come together to give Hildreth the donations. She has teamed up with local computer specialists, Nerds to Go, to help collect those donations and distribute them to the three organization.
If you did miss out on Sunday shopping and you still want to help follow these links to make a donation.
Here is a list of local businesses that participated in Sunday's "Australia Day" fundraiser:
- Grandma’s Corner Kitchen
- Wind Horse Coffee and Tea
- Ames Meat Research
- K. Marie
- Made in Milwaukie
- Molly Muriel
- Milwaukie Floral
- Decibel Sound & Drink
- Mocha Express
Oregon City businesses
- Bratzdog Pet Spa
- Oregon City Records
- Illuminati Tattoo
- Senet Game Bar