Over the past few months, we have seen the world around us change drastically. In Australia, we have seen people gripped with fear over the thought of stepping into the unknown.
There has been a worldwide shift in how we go about our everyday lives. Whether this is social distancing, going out in public less regularly, working from home or the devastating challenge of losing work.
Going through these changes can also have a negative effect on organisations, whose main goal is to help those in need.
Several charities in South Australia have volunteers that are either elderly or have compromised immune systems. In the current climate, it is unwise for them to be out serving.
Encounter Youth Situation
At Encounter Youth, some of our Volunteer programmes have been affected too.
The Hindley Street Program, for instance, is currently on hold as government legislation means pubs and clubs are closed due to social distancing. These circumstances have resulted in an Encounter Youth Green Team volunteer base starved of volunteer opportunities.
As the ramifications of COVID-19 hit our country, we were concerned at the excessive negativity that was quickly taking a stranglehold over so many people. Immediately, we started looking into how, with the help of our stakeholders and volunteers, we could Change the Narrative. Yes, there are many reasons to be smart amid the dangers of COVID-19. And yes, Encounter Youth is committed to fully complying with the State and Federal Government and health authority directives.
The questions we asked were simply: Where can we make a difference? How can we turn negatives into positives?
One of the ideas that emerged was a partnership between those charities short on volunteer support and an Encounter Youth Green Team short on volunteer opportunities.
We approached several charities and organisations, including Meals on Wheels, Backpacks 4 SA Kids and Habitat for Humanity, and we asked a simple question, “Do you need a hand?”
Our brief is simple but clear:
For charities in need of assistance, Encounter Youth will activate Encounter Youth Green Team volunteers to help in areas where their regular volunteer support is lacking.
This could take various forms of service, from packing bags full of essential items for kids fleeing domestic violence situations to serving the community through delivering meals for the elderly. There is no limit to what the Encounter Youth Green Team can do!
About the Charities
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels SA provides support to members of the community to live independently.
Their support enhances lifestyles through:
- the delivery of nourishing meals to maintain health and wellbeing
- offering social contact
- recognising, responding and building people’s capacity to meet nutritional and other needs that increase wellbeing
This support is expressed as ‘more than just a meal’.
In providing these services through our volunteer workforce, we help Meals on Wheels fulfil their mandate to strengthen the community.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is building homes for low income and disadvantaged families in SA. They give people a hand-up by building homes in partnership with families who contribute a minimum of 200 hours of labour or ‘sweat equity’ and pay significantly less than market value. New homes are built using as much volunteer labour and donated materials as possible.
The programmes current focus is to assist with fixing plasterboard to walls and ceilings in the home under construction.
Backpacks 4 SA Kids
Backpacks 4 SA Kids supports any child displaced from their home; for example, children entering foster care, domestic violence shelters and youth homeless shelters.
Our current focus is on the program that supplies basic and distraction items to support the confidence and self-worth of children often left traumatised by their life’s events.
Puddle Jumpers is a non-profit, non-government organisation committed to responding to the social development needs of society’s most vulnerable children and young people. We believe that all kids matter and deserve the right to engage in happy and fun experiences in their life.
One of our current focuses is our Food Drive-by for vulnerable families. Volunteers can assist by packing bags of non-perishable foods for the operation and by also handing them out at the food drive locations.
These acts of service to the charities will start within the coming weeks.
The Wrap Up
Through this initiative, Encounter Youth hopes to bring a measure of relief to these organisations who are without their regular volunteer base. Together, we can turn negatives into positives and make a difference.
If you know of a charity or organisation that needs assistance with volunteer support, please complete this expression of interest form today!