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Omaha bar raises money to support Australia's bushfire relief effort

Posted at 10:09 PM, Jan 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-13 23:34:53-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The world has watched from a distance as nearly 18 million acres of land burn throughout Australia, causing thousands of people to evacuate.

"It kind of makes you feel almost helpless," Blackstone Social bartender Jackie Johnson said. "You want to do something, but there is only so much that like you can do."

The images have made an impact across the globe, sparking businesses and organizations, like Omaha's Blackstone Social, to help from afar.

"It's just important, I think, to realize that you do need to be focused on what's happening because it does at the end of it affect everybody," Blackstone Social manager Cassie Smith said.

Blackstone Social says for every drink sold, they will donate 50% of the proceeds to wildfire relief efforts.

Come out and have a drink and half of it know it will be going to help them and everything," Johnson said.

Videos of animals, like koalas and kangaroos, attempting to escape burning brush have shown the true destruction to Australia's premier wildlife, something Blackstone Social hopes they can help with.

"We are going to be more focused on animal relief, as of right now," Smith said. "Depending on how much we raise, we might be able to split it between a couple different funds."

The bar has hosted fundraisers in the past and feels compelled to serve drinks for a cause.

Although thousands of miles away from the horrific fires, bar goers say this is just one small way they could help.

"I wish there was something I could do, you know," Omaha resident Demi Kulper said. "I don't have the money to go over there and help myself, but events like this make it possible you know giving back any sort of money or anything I can do. It's super heart breaking and devastating."

They aren't sure which wildlife organization they'll work with yet. The event runs until Tuesday, January 14.

Blackstone Social is located near the intersection of 40th and Farnam.