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Seattle woman raising money for Australian wildfire relief through unique online auction

An online auction created by a Seattle woman has raised over $7,000 to help with wildfire relief in Australia.

SEATTLE — What’s happened this week has Jill Gallagher’s eyes glued to her computer screen.

“I just cleared the notification 10 minutes ago and there 13 news bids right now,” said Gallagher.

The Seattle resident started a Facebook group called Aussie Fire Auction. The group is auctioning off items like gift cards to restaurants, hotel stays, and artwork. The proceeds from the auction are going to help fight wildfires in Australia.

“I have several Australian friends and they were hurting. There’s no other way to put it. They’ve been devastated by what’s happened to their country, and their relatives, and to the animals that they love in Australia,” explained Gallagher. “So, I made a small donation and was just kind of wondering how I could make more of an impact without breaking my bank.”

Also see | Seattle woman describes fire raging through Australian kangaroo refuge

Gallagher is coordinating with donors and putting their donations on the Facebook page where people can comment on a post with their bid.

Gallagher said she sets a time limit for each item and when the bidding is over, the winner donates to either the Australian Red Cross or WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue Organization. After that, she connects the winner with the donor.

As of Saturday night, the group auction has raised more than $7,015.

“I think that when the weekend closes, we should be at around $10,000 give-or-take,” said Gallagher.

On Saturday, Gallagher announced the group would beginning auctioning off a signed Megan Rapinoe jersey. The group is also bidding on a copy of the pilot script for Marvel’s Jessica Jones that is signed by the show’s creator, Melissa Rosenberg.

Also see | Calling all crafters! Here's how you can help wildlife affected by the Australia wildfires

“I think a lot of times people want to do something to help and they just don’t know how,” said Gallagher. “If you give them an opportunity, they will do it, and they will do it pretty selflessly.”

Gallagher expected the auctions to last only for a weekend, but now she plans to continue posting items for the next several weeks.

Click here to join the Aussie Fire Auction Facebook group