PayPal’s rapid response to Australian flood crisis
05 May 2021
A team of PayPal and PayPal Giving Fund employees quickly mobilised to prepare a rapid response to the recent record-breaking floods.
There was a genuine and urgent desire from the very top of PayPal’s leadership globally to help these people who had already suffered more than their share of hardship for several lifetimes


Credit: NRMA helicopter

When record-breaking floods and severe storms suddenly inundated Australian communities and forced thousands to be evacuated with little notice, it was clear that help was needed urgently.

A team of PayPal and PayPal Giving Fund employees quickly mobilised to prepare a rapid response. Within three days PayPal announced it would donate $250,000 to charities to assist with disaster relief and recovery. Within two weeks PayPal had transferred $150,000, with Australian Red Cross, Lifeline and GIVIT each receiving $50,000. The remaining $100,000 has been allocated during the weeks that followed, with an additional $50,000 going to the Australian Red Cross, and $50,000 going to The Women’s Cottage, supporting women and children in the Hawkesbury.

During the peak of the flood crisis, PayPal Australia and PayPal Giving Fund (PPGF) launched an Australian Flood Relief and Recovery Campaign, enabling Australian PayPal customers to quickly and easily donate an additional $152,000 to the same three charities and Foodbank Australia.

GIVIT, an online platform that connects people in need with support organisations and donors, said the funds received were helping fulfil more than 3,300 requests received from people impacted by flood. These ranged from essentials including groceries, fuel and tools needed in the immediate aftermath, to furniture, whitegoods, bedding and work equipment needed as communities continue the long road to rebuilding and recovery.

One family on NSW’s Mid North Coast lost everything in the Black Summer Bushfires, then again as their home in Kempsey was inundated by flood waters 12 months later. GIVIT was able to fulfil their board games and puzzles requests for their young son, whose Autism Spectrum Disorder had made the already overwhelming events even more stressful.

“GIVIT is working directly with councils, outreach teams, local charities and community groups who tell us exactly what’s needed,” said GIVIT NSW Manager Scott Barrett. “We then work to meet these needs through our online warehouse, or by purchasing requested items locally using donated funds. Through the generosity of PayPal and its customers, we can provide people affected with exactly what they need, when they need it most.”

The Australian Red Cross has provided a range of critical services since the crisis began unfolding, including deploying personnel to provide psychosocial support and reunification services for loved ones who had been separated by the emergency. The funds received thanks to PayPal and PayPal customers will help support initiatives like the NSW Floods Grants program, which provides $1,000 grants to families that cannot return to their home. Families can use the grant towards urgent needs such as temporary accommodation, food, clothes, bedding or personal items.

“It is a very challenging time for communities in NSW, with lives, homes and livelihoods lost, on the back of drought, bushfires and COVID-19,” said Australian Red Cross NSW Director Poppy Brown

“Our teams of Red Cross volunteers are still supporting communities in recovery centres providing psychological first aid and helping them access services and essentials.

Lifeline said the support of PayPal and PayPal customers had helped their volunteers answer a record number of calls received during the flood crisis, following previous broken records during the Black Summer Bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the last few years Australia has faced extreme natural disasters, with our communities really wearing the brunt of this impact,” said Naomi Van Anen, Community Fundraising Executive at Lifeline. “After COVID19, seeing the floods hit our recovering communities was heart breaking. Throughout all of this, Lifeline Australia was able to continue to be there to answer your calls 24/7 and keep us connected. Thank you to PayPal for the incredible support during this time. “

The Women’s Cottage supports women experiencing domestic violence isolation, financial distress, parenting distress and other forms of emotional distress or trauma. The funds they receive will help maintain and grow their team of crisis support workers and managers and enable extended opening hours so women can access the service when it’s safe for them to do so.

PayPal Giving Fund Executive Director Erica McLernon said she and her colleagues were devastated to see Australian communities hit by a yet another disaster. 

“There was a genuine and urgent desire from the very top of PayPal’s leadership globally to help these people who had already suffered more than their share of hardship for several lifetimes.” said Erica. “Australian’s have already given so much to those impacted by disasters over the past 12 months so I was blown away by the continued generosity of PayPal customers in response to this urgent need.” 

Anyone who would like to help flood-impacted communities, or support another cause they’re passionate about, can visit PayPal’s Fundraising site. They can also show their support with a $1 donation through PayPal’s Give At Checkout and set their favourite charity to appear when Give at Checkout is displayed. 

Charities can make sure they are eligible to benefit from future campaigns like the Australian Flood Relief and Recovery Campaign, and the generosity of Australia’s 9.1 million account holders generally, by enrolling with PayPal Giving Fund

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