Relief granted to charities supporting Covid recovery

Relief granted to charities supporting Covid recovery

CCI Giving distributed $20,000 in grants among four charities providing emergency food relief across both Sydney and Melbourne, at the end of August 2021.

As the impact of the Covid pandemic escalates in Australia’s two largest cities, exacerbated by an extremely difficult period for many charitable organisations, food and essential material aid relief programs are under heavy pressure. Charites in Sydney and Melbourne have experienced a large increase in the number of people reaching out for help, many of whom have not approached them for help before. The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has emphasised greater difficulty for those on the lowest incomes who are in lockdown because they are missing out on disaster payments and turning to local community sources for essential needs such as food and toiletries.

CCI Giving has recognised the need for immediate assistance to address a growing and dire situation for so many, and their Directors agreed to release $20,000 earlier than planned from the next small grants program. These funds will now be directed to support programs working to meet current urgent and essential needs.

In August, CCI Giving contacted four grant recipients who were already known to be delivering COVID relief programs. Following an update on their program work, all were grateful to receive news of an unprompted $5,000 grant.

Four CCI Giving grant recipients supporting Covid recovery are:

Dignity

The not-for-profit organisation Dignity is focused on empowering those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Dignity Dishes is an important initiative that forms part of their effort to give homemade food to people staying in emergency crisis accommodation.

Demand for food relief in the last year has increased dramatically, and their program has grown to include COVID food relief for numerous people and families experiencing hardship across Sydney. Dignity has confirmed the extra funding not only supports their current program, but helps their organisation to adapt their existing programs to a changing environment.

St Mary’s House of Welcome

St Mary's is one of a few frontline homelessness services giving immediate material relief to people in the form of showers, hot beverages, and triaging needs. Their most important work is in providing meals.

Their emergency food packs have continued to be distributed for more than 18 months, with up to 100 people each day receiving one. They have seen an increase in the numbers of people needing assistance, explaining that many travel from other areas where smaller, volunteer ‘soup kitchen’ charities have been forced to close because of the pandemic.

Without ongoing financial support for this program, St Mary’s relies on community and other donations that are financial and material. An additional CCI Giving grant supports their work and effectiveness, in helping people experiencing hardship, in the short-term.

Community Care Incorporated

This refugee and asylum seeker outreach ministry provides practical assistance to families across Western Sydney. This program delivers emergency relief in the form of food, utility bill payments and other essential items. This program has grown in importance since the start of the pandemic, with refugee and asylum seekers disproportionally impacted by the lockdowns, many of whom are not eligible for government support.

Community Care has described extremely high demand for their assistance. They are now supporting over 80 families a fortnight in dire need, having lost their income across largely casual, as well as labour intensive industries. They also confirm many services in their area have closed, and feel their program is really providing the families a lifeline during this time.

StreetSmart - SmartMeals

The success of the SmartMeals program is extraordinary and utilises the unused capacity of local cafes and restaurants to provide meals for people experiencing economic hardship in the community. It is a practical and local solution that addresses food security, but also ensures that workers vulnerable to income disruption remain employed through hospitality businesses and social enterprises.

StreetSmart has maintained this effective support program and has grown partnerships in Sydney’s western suburbs that have been impacted by the pandemic, as well. Across the board the organisation has seen an average 30% increase in demand for their assistance since the beginning of 2021, and explain that all agencies they speak to have the same demand for support.

Funding for the program remains a month-to-month challenge, with current funding supporting the program until the end of September. As lockdown restrictions lift in the future, there will be an ongoing need beyond 2021 as many people will experience the challenge of debt. Additional funding from CCI Giving helps to provide for those who urgently need it, and gives training and employment to workers in the hospitality sector.