Helping our most vulnerable and marginalised

by MARTINE CORBERT
4th May 2020

Doncare is particularly concerned about the vulnerable members in our community and people who are now being impacted financially, socially and emotionally by situations arising from COVID–19.

Many of whom, may not have required assistance before.

Last financial year, 98 per cent of clients seeking assistance from Doncare’s Information and Emergency Relief program were in receipt of a government pension, with 30 per cent receiving a Newstart Allowance.

That figure is set to rise, as Covid-19 continues to affect the level of unemployment.

Every day, Doncare’s Community Support Workers hear stories of family violence, financial hardship, homelessness or people facing the real risk of becoming homeless through the inability to pay rent or mortgages.

They see parents who cannot feed their children, pensioners who have not put on heating or who have had to choose between paying their utility bills and eating.

Many seniors tell us that they would normally spend time in local libraries or shopping centres to keep warm, but with Stage 3 restrictions in place, they are housebound.

Now that Victorian children are learning remotely, financially vulnerable families will also see significant increases in utility usage and expenditure as the winter months approach.

On average, Doncare feeds over 3,000 individuals a year and has already experienced a 200 per cent increase since February in the numbers of people approaching its Emergency Relief program for essential food items.

At the same time however, as suppliers and major donors take their own precautionary measures and downsize operations, Doncare is rapidly running out of food to distribute.

A Doncare spokesperson told the Diary thst now, more than ever, Doncare needs the community’s help to maintain the health and wellbeing of people experiencing hardship by donating food and household items.

“We have been very fortunate that Bendigo Bank’s Warrandyte and Doncaster East and Templestowe Village branches donated funds and Noel Jones Doncaster jumped to the rescue with a significant donation, even securing a huge amount of food from Metropolitan Foods Pty Ltd with the funds they donated.”

Year 9 students, Lucas and Angus also popped in to the Doncare office with Toby, Vice Captain of Whitefriars College.

The students initiated a fundraising BBQ and partnered with Youth Resource Officers from Warrandyte and Forest Hill Police Departments.

They raised $413.40 for Doncare’s food pantry.

Thanks to Mary-Anne Lowe, Warrandyte locals can now donate non-perishable items to Doncare’s food pantry by visiting the drive-thru drop zone at Bramleigh Estate, Warrandyte.

Donations will be gratefully accepted seven days a week from 7am–7pm (contactless).

Doncare’s new CEO Gaby Thomson said: “We are extremely grateful to Mary-Anne for creating this fabulous initiative, and to all the families, businesses and community groups that have already donated.

“This level of support really and truly echoes the sentiments of Doncare’s philosophy ‘for the community, by the community’,” she said.

Donations can also be delivered to Doncare’s main office at Suite 4, Level 1, 687 Doncaster Road, Doncaster.

Whilst the MC2 building is closed due to Covid-19, staff will gladly meet you downstairs to collect donations.

Meanwhile, Doncare has adopted physical distancing and other transmission reduction measures across the organisation and will be providing remote service delivery to clients in Family Services; Counselling; the Social Support for Seniors program and Community Visitors Scheme.

DAWN mentors will also continue to support women in recovery from family violence.

Should you require emergency relief or assistance with food parcels and food vouchers, please call Doncare on 9856 1500.

For more information, visit
www.doncare.org.au

 

The bank that cares for its community in a crisis

By SUSAN FOREMAN

YOUR LOCAL community bank has long been the lifeblood for the community, and especially in our current State of Emergency, the bank is doing all it can to help.

Community Liaison Officer at the Warrandyte Community Bank, Dee Dickson said the branch is staying in touch with Bendigo Bank head office, their staff, customers and community partners to ensure they are able to continue to service and support customers safely.

“Behind the scenes we have been speaking with our not-for-profit partners to understand the needs of locals, how this presents now and how it is likely to present moving forward.

“Recently we have contributed $2,000 to Now and Not Yet for the provision of emergency food parcels for local people and families in need.

“We have also reached out to Doncare and provided $1000 toward the distribution of food parcels and donated $2,000 to the Rotary Op Shop Food Bank to ensure they are well stocked with non-perishables.

“We’re exploring other ways to fund projects that support those in need and lift spirits — demonstrating what we can achieve together.”

If you know of someone, including your own family, that is in need, there is help available:

  • Now and Not Yet:  148–150 Yarra
    St, Warrandyte — for food and
    support.
  • Rotary Op Shop:  Rear of the
    Bridge shops, 264 Yarra St,
    Warrandyte  — for food (non-
    perishables on  site)  and food
    orders (purchased  and  delivered
    by op shop  volunteers)
  • Doncare:  Manningham City
    Square, Suite 4 level 1/687
    Doncaster Rd, Doncaster
    — for food  and crisis intervention
  • Pettet Family Foundation, Park
    Orchards — Crisis intervention
    and inclusion services for children
    and their families.
    Contact Geoff Parkes
    geoff.parkes@bigpond.com
    or 0418 392 748.

For 17 years, the Warrandyte Community Bank Branch has been committed to the care of locals and the groups of which they are members, especially when things get tough.

“As we respond to COVID-19, please know our commitment to our customers, will not change.

“If you need assistance our branch staff are here to help you navigate these uncertain financial times,” Dee said.

The branch is open Monday–Friday from 9:30am–5pm or staff can be contacted on 9844 2233.