Tuesday 5th April, 2022
Author:   Bianca Bassett

During the 2019/2020 Black Summer Fires, the Australian Islamic Centre (AIC) made a lasting impression on the East Gippsland community.
Fired Up is a film project lead by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in partnership with Australian Islamic Centre, Human Appeal and Blureprint Studios. It tells the story of AIC volunteers who travelled to East Gippsland to provide essential supplies to communities in need.
With the help from talented film director Ruben Street at Blueprint Studios, the team brought a story of human kindness to the big screen.
At a time when many East Gippslanders were evacuating, AIC community had been working non stop and within 48 hours loaded up four truck loads full of much needed supplies, all generously donated. It was still dark when they hit the road to deliver the good to the communities in East Gippsland.
The first stop was Johnsonville, the convoy of trucks, cars and Utes were filled with food, water and other non-perishable goods that had been requested. They quickly set up their food truck, cooked a much-needed fresh meal for the volunteers based out of the Bumberah station. They had started unpacking some of the donated goods when it became apparent that there were others in need of a freshly cooked meal, so the convoy were moved onto Lakes Entrance. Again, in record time they set up at the rotunda and fed the community. It was there the wind changed, they had 20 minutes to pack up and leave or they’d have to stay until the danger passed. Fortunately, they got out.
A couple of weeks later they were back, with more! Richmond premiership star Bachar Houli, with premiership cup in had led the AIC team for a second time. Another four shipping containers full of donated goods for much needed communities. Even the shipping containers were donated, and if you visit the Buchan Neighbourhood house you will see them, a reminder of the kindness bestowed by the AIC community.
Fired Up was launched at the Coburg Cinema in April 2022 and was attended by guests from the East Gippsland community, AIC, AFP and the Human Appeal. Special guest for the launch event was Australian Musician Mitch Tambo.
From the adversity of the devastating Black Summer Bushfires, unlikely friendships were formed that showcase the true beauty of connection though humanity that will last a lifetime.
*Fired Up documentary contains images from the Black Summer Bushfires that may distress some viewers. If you feel like you need support, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636