These are worrying, uncharted times. We are in the midst of a global health pandemic caused by COVID-19. The pace and volume of information is overwhelming. In the time that passes between me sending this email, and you reading it, the situation will have changed again.
What matters right now is that we prioritise health, flatten the curve and play our part by paying attention to the updates and recommendations of our government and local authorities. We are using the Department of Health as our main source of guidance, and we suggest this as a good place to start if you're unsure about where to look.
At Geelong Mums we are assessing the situation on a daily basis. Our organisation is based in Geelong, Clayton and Ballarat and we work with a vast and varied network of donors, volunteers, social service agencies, hospitals and suppliers across the state.
We are considering a range of options that would allow us to operate a reduced service. At the time of sending this, we are continuing to provide our service to help families in need. We are constantly considering all of the different ways we may be able to deliver our service, knowing our operations are likely to change in light of changing circumstances for volunteers, staff and donors.
We have already seen a significant decline in the number of regular volunteers attending the warehouse, as they navigate an ever-changing landscape for their own work and home lives. Our workplace volunteering teams are cancelling as they follow directives from their senior management.
Less and less people are dropping by with their donations.
We only know one thing for sure. That the families we help are already some of the most vulnerable people in our community.
Many of the families we help are adrift, moving from couch to couch or desperately waiting for their spot in transitional or commission housing. How will they effectively self-isolate?
There are those who need our help because they are already suffering from acute health conditions, unable to work.
And it will come as no surprise that single-parent, single-income families are vastly overrepresented amongst those we help. What will happen if they can no longer go to work?
There is no doubt that the poor and vulnerable in our community will feel the effects of this crisis the most.
And I won’t lie, we are worried. Because while the need for our support will grow over the coming weeks and months, our capacity to help will reduce.
We, like any organisation, are facing significant challenges to our resourcing and income.
So, please stick with us. We need you.
Please drop off your donations while you can. It is critical that you check our website and Facebook page before you visit to make sure we are open and able to accept your donation. Please do not visit if you are unwell or are in a period of isolation after overseas travel.
And please, please if you can, consider making a financial gift to us at this time. We need to pay the rent on our warehouses, we need to pay our staff, and we need to pay our bills. It is also highly likely that, as donations drop off, we will need to purchase more stock to help families.
We do not have government funding and we are already experiencing damage to our fundraising income as a result of this health crisis.
There are 109 families on our waitlist right now. Where will they go if we don’t help them?
Please donate here if you can. Every dollar helps right now.
Thank you, we will keep you updated and we will keep helping those who need help. Please take good care of yourselves during this time.