SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -The world has watched devastating wildfires destroy millions of acres in Australia over the past few weeks.
27 people have died in the fire, and the latest estimates say more than a billion animals have been killed. One local business owner with a close tie to the country is giving those at home wanting to help an opportunity to pitch in.
“It’s been very difficult for us,” said Anthony Debreceny, the owner of Collins Quarter. "Both our families are in different areas, mine in Port Macquarie, the only koala hospital in Australia, a very large population of koalas that’s been decimated.
Anthony Debreceny, his wife Rebecca, and his daughter Gracie moved to Savannah six years ago from Australia. Anthony says Savannah is their home now, but being so far away from home makes watching the fires unfold even harder.
The Collins Quarter is a favorite among locals, attracting visitors from all over the world. The Debrecenys want to help their home country with benefits planned at two of their restaurants.
“We have very deep roots here,” Debreceny said. “We like to help out where we can, we’re in a fortunate enough position to be able to do that.”
That’s a position they’re using to make an impact.
“Whenever I try to do something, I want to do it big, so we want to donate 100% of our takings from the day on Tuesday from the Collins Quarter for the Australian Bush Fire Foundation,” Debreceny said. “Something that’s very close to all Australians.”
Debreceny quickly saw how eager everyone is to show support when he first announced the fundraiser at the Collins Quarter.
“The Collins Quarter fundraiser sold out in a day,” he said. “200 reservations, so we decided next Thursday we’re going to do a fundraiser same format at the Fitzroy on Drayton Street, where we will be donating 100 percent of those proceeds to Australian Bush Fighter Foundations.”
Two days, 100 percent of the proceeds. A contribution Debreceny says he wouldn’t be able to do without his staff who jumped right on board, and the community he’s grown to love so very much.
“It’s been humbling to see support that everyone’s prepared to give to us for something so far away,” he said.