FOREST CITY, Pa. -- The wildfires in Australia have moved one Susquehanna County woman to action.
While the devastating images of the Australian wildfires are difficult for many to watch, the footage of the rapidly spreading infernos is especially heartbreaking for Rachel Burnis and her family. The fires remind Burnis of what she and her family lost six years ago when their Browndale home burned down.
"Thoughts and prayers are wonderful, they are really nice, but in the whole scheme of things, what I remember after our fire was like someone brought a toy to Christopher at the hotel, a little girl brought him a toothbrush, you know, those actions. Actions are what we need right now, not just thoughts and prayers," Burnis said.
Rachel and her son Christopher have been to Australia five times. Each time, they fell more in love with the country, its people, and its animals. Seeing it burn, they knew they had to do something to help.
"It's just terrible knowing that this is happening all around the world, like in California, all over the place. It's just terrible knowing this is happening," Christopher Burnis said.
"Tuesday morning, I'm at yoga, I thought, I have to do something. I can't just sit by any longer," Rachel said.
So Burnis called the Australian consulate in Washington D.C. to find out how to best reach those in need. She then reached out to Nunzi's Advertising in Scranton, asking the company to create t-shirts to be sold as part of a fundraiser for the wildfire victims.
"I was excited to help out," Nunzi Allegrucci said. "Me and my girlfriend were actually talking about, 'What can we do?' and Rachel called me, and I said, 'OK, I'll run with this with your help,' and here we are."
"Even if we don't hardly sell anything, but if one person in Australia sees this and thinks to themselves, someone does care, someone really does want to try and help us, I think that will mean the most to them," Rachel added.
You can purchase a t-shirt or a sweatshirt on nepa4australia.com, where you can also make a donation that will go directly to the Australian government disaster assist initiative.