The value of charities to our social fabric and quality of life in Australia is immeasurable.
With the economic downturn predicted to worsen, demand for goods and services provided by charities will continue to increase – while donations and other revenue continues to decrease, meaning that charities have to do more with less for our most vulnerable.
On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has made volunteering far more challenging, and as an organisation that supports volunteering, with a day of paid volunteering leave each year, our people have had to take an innovative approach.
Volunteering goes virtual
People experiencing homelessness, and the charities that work to support them, have been hit particularly hard by the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Our Compliance, Risk and Assurance team recently adjusted their volunteering plans and partnered with The Good Box to learn about the complexities that face those experiencing homelessness, particularly during these challenging times, and how best to provide support.
‘When COVID-19 and the lockdown hit, we looked to pivot from a traditional volunteering session to something virtual,’ said Melissa McAuliffe, Regulatory Advisor.
‘During this sensitive time, where everyone – including our charities – has to adjust to a new world order, volunteering with The Good Box, who are partners with OrangeSky, seemed like the perfect idea.’
The Good Box is a for-purpose organisation that creates packaged boxes of essential items to give to those experiencing homelessness, as an alternative to giving money.
Melissa and the broader Compliance, Risk and Assurance team volunteering…virtually.
‘It was a really thought-provoking and moving session,’ Melissa said.
The organisation is run by two dedicated women, Gali Blacher and Madelyn Jones, who are currently working from their homes in Queensland. Gali and Madelyn are continuing their mission by bringing their corporate educational and box-making sessions to life, virtually.
‘Gali and Maddy really took to the challenge of hosting the session online. They organised a representative from Orange Sky Van to speak with us, and also included a thought-provoking story from Damo, a Good Box ambassador, who shared his experiences of homelessness.
‘As we listened to his experiences… there may have been tears.’
The team also purchased a box of essential items each – which, under normal circumstances, would have been packed and delivered personally – along with a personalised note, which was later hand-delivered to a person experiencing homelessness.
Melissa said she would encourage everyone – no matter who they are – to think about how they can support those in need during these challenging times.
‘Just taking the time to step away from the everyday and to reconnect and show support to our most vulnerable is time very well spent,’ she said.
‘While the session with The Good Box was not your conventional volunteering experience, the charitable sector has been significantly impacted by COVID-19 – so this was a perfect opportunity to think outside the box and get involved!’