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Kyabram South woman offers shelter to bushfire-hit communities

By Ed McLeish

Kyabram South resident Renae Moritz holds the ‘pay it forward’ mantra close to her heart.

In a time when bushfires are ravaging the country and some people are left with nothing, Renae, 47, has offered a range of free amenities via a Facebook post.

That includes bedrooms, camping, power, water, Wi-Fi, showers, toilets and airconditioning. She is also offering full board - with three meals a day, at her 121 ha (300-acre) farm.

According to Renae, her property is about 10 km south of Kyabram – halfway between Kyabram and the Midland Hwy – and a 25-minute drive from Shepparton.

Renae said she was “inundated” with positive feedback from her online post, which was shared publicly more than 240 times in three hours.

“We’ve only had one person saying they’re going to arrive on January 14 so far – we’re quite a distance from the fires so it’s difficult to get here,” Renae said.

“But, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

“I have some room for horses or other pets and livestock if need be.”

Renae is an experienced host for HelpX, a volunteer organisation giving people places to stay on farms.

She understands tough times – she is an ex-dairy farmer who’s had to sell her herd in 2018 due to drought.

The assistance Renae has received from the community and charities since selling her herd has led to her compassionate mindset.

“It’s been quite a fight and I had some pretty hard times, but there were people who helped me,” she said.

“If everyone could do one act of kindness a day, even if it’s a small compliment, it would be great.”

Renae didn’t limit her accommodation and services just to bushfire victims.

“If people are in need, it’s hard to get help around this time of the year – even if it’s an elderly couple travelling through and need a place to stay, they’re welcome here,” she said.

Message Renae Moritz on Facebook or message her 0428 988 697 if she can help you.