Donations of goods and money to the Red Cross to help bushfire victims is definitely getting out to the people who need it, says Cootamundra Red Cross shop manager Helen Eccleston.
"It's just some very foolish people who really didn't do their homework and didn't know anything about the Red Cross who were putting us down," Ms Eccleston said.
It has been all hands to the pump for Coota Red Cross since January 3, when fire threatened Batlow and forced the evacuation of 13 women, aged 76 to 98, from their nursing home to take up temporary residence at Cootamundra Hospital.
"We started helping when those ladies from Batlow arrived," Ms Eccleston said.
"I was on holidays at the Gold Coast but my 'girls' came in, as volunteers, and got everything they needed for those ladies.
"What we didn't have we went and purchased and took up to the to the hospital for them. That's what we do, always free of charge."
When Ms Eccleston arrived back she suggested that if anyone came in with donations the volunteers should ask whether it was for the shop, or for "on the ground".
"The answers from 99.9% of people were that they wanted their donation put into effect right now, not put into the big pool. So that's what we did."
In this initial stage of relief work, they bought a lot of food and also sorted a lot of clothing, which went down to the south coast areas hit by the fires.
"Justyn Smith, who also collected donations in his own place, did an amazing job transporting things from Coota to the coast. We kept in contact with him, and everything we got into that shop went 'onto the ground' as I call it.
"We bought all sorts of things that people would need - baby food, toiletries - whatever people would need and packaged it and took it to Justyn, so each time he went he was taking a whole heap of stuff that was donated to our shop, or bought by us.
"I was also able to write $5,500 worth of vouchers which went to a little place called Kiah, whose 70 residents had been missing out, they didn't even have water.
"The vouchers were for food from IGA and Woolworths and for fuel from Catlex."
But the help people need is in the medium and long terms, as well as immediate.
"It has to be done in stages," said Ms Eccleston, "You can't give them a million dollars and say go away.
"This was backed up by one of the volunteers from BlazeAid recently, based on his own experience rebuilding after the fires in Victoria."
Ms Eccleston gets regular information from Red Cross headquarters about the bushfire relief fund and the latest figure is that only 4.5 cents in the dollar goes to administration and tracking.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.