Comedian Celeste Barber Has So Far Raised Over $18 Million For Bushfire Relief

Celeste Barber opened a Facebook fundraiser for the NSW RFS on Friday. It's already made more than $18 million, with celebrity backers including Lizzo, Sophie Monk and Natalie Portman.

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Comedian Celeste Barber has so far raised over $18 million for the NSW Rural Fire Service, with celebrities like Lizzo and Natalie Portman throwing their support behind her efforts.

Barber opened the fundraiser, ‘Please help anyway you can. This is terrifying’, on Facebook on 3 January with the plea: “Please help anyway you can. This is terrifying. We need your help.” You can donate here.

Overnight, Barber revealed that her own family – specifically her father-in-law – had been evacuated from Eden, on NSWs south coast, to Bega. “I feel sick,” she wrote in an update to the Facebook fundraiser.

Yesterday afternoon Barber had shared images from her brother-in-law, Zac, of the blood-red sky in Eden. “Surrounded by fires, just sitting and waiting…” he posted on an image of the reddish-black sky morning, from the Port of Eden. Barber today explained that her brother- and her mother-in-law are waiting at the wharf on tug boats.

Celeste Barber Insta Stories
Celeste Barber Insta Stories

After headlining FOMO festival in Brisbane yesterday, this morning Lizzo urged her followers to donate to save the koalas, for the firefighters and the Australian Red Cross.

Celeste Barber Insta Stories

“Being over here in Australia has really given me a real time view into what’s happening with these devastating fires,” Lizzo said in her Instagram Stories. “For all of my followers who are mostly American I just want to say that this is a global crisis.

“The CO2 emissions that are being created from this fire are staggering. And it affects the world,” she continued. “This is all of our problem, this is our neighbourhood. We share this.”

She urged people to donate and to spread awareness of the issue. “There are people who are on the front lines who are working really really hard to fight the fires and to save the animals.”

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This decade is off to a soul shaking start. These extreme highs and lows are like a rollercoaster and we are all strapped in, helplessly waiting for the next loop. I can’t help but to feel connected to everyone… can you? From what I’ve seen lately—the jokes, the memes, the grieving, the hopelessness as our planet heads to a fever— it’s like we’re all crying out hoping somebody hears us. I pray you feel seen and I pray your voice is heard because that’s precisely the tool we need if we’re going to make it through this. It’s time to speak up but most importantly show up. Our collective heavy hearts are searching for the light in this world.. it’s there, but we have to march through the darkness to reach it. Every act of love is an act of defiance to hate. How will you love today?

A post shared by Lizzo (@lizzobeeating) on

Natalie Portman also shared the fundraiser to her socials today.

Celeste Barber Insta Stories

Other local and international celebrities praising Barber’s efforts include Sophie Monk and Selma Blair.

Selma Blair comments on Celeste Barber Sophie Monk comments on Celeste Barber

“Who else is getting sick of being excellent and helping save the world?” Barber gushed yesterday morning in her Stories, when the fundraiser reached $3 million.

She shared where the money raised for the The Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund would be going, as per the Australian Charities and Not-For-Profits Commission (ACNC): “People in rural/regional/remote communities; Victims of disaster; and General community in Australia”.

“Funds are utilised to purchase equipment for use by NSW Rural Fire Brigades across the state,” the ACNC continued.

She later talked about being overwhelmed by the public’s support for her campaign, and how her jokes on Saturday morning about raising the figure to $6 billion, close to the total amount the State Government spent on the RFS, may not be so laughable.

Barber also shared a comment from a firefighter, who explained that $4 million could pay for 40,000 face masks – which is about half of all NSW firefighters.

Celeste Barber has since raised the fundraiser’s target to $20 million.

“Remember that time that you guys raised 16-and-a-half million dollars in a day-and-a-half?” Barber said in an Instagram Story today. “I do. Unbelievable. I’m bumping it up.

“You guys are incredible.”

Yesterday, Pink pledged $500,000 to Australian fire services, and encouraged her followers to donate. She’s joined other notable people across the globe, like Bette Midler, in calling attention to the bushfire crisis raging in Australia.