Communities throughout Australia have been hard hit by the impact of COVID-19 and the economic downturn, and none more so than those already vulnerable. With many in communities already facing challenges due to the drought, bush fires, tight budgets, isolation and loneliness, the COVID-19 pandemic and flow-on impacts are posing new threats to an already vulnerable population.
Australian unemployment has skyrocketed putting huge financial pressure on families. Safe shelter requirements have increased for the growing number of homeless and domestic violence cases, and emergency food relief to families is needed.
Responding to a global pandemic requires a collaborative, multilayered and tailored approach. United Way is uniquely qualified to quickly react to these types of crisis’ leveraging its global and Australian network of corporate and community partners to provide emergency relief in the most critical areas. And we do this by listening and responding to local needs.
This joined up approach allows us to provide essential food parcels for families, provide care packages for elderly and homeless, give financial support for the unemployed, and deliver educational and learning support for children living in families under difficult financial situations. The united response addresses both urgent needs now as well address needs in the recovery phase.
Over the coming months, emergency food and care packages, meals and educational resources are being distributed to the most vulnerable families across Australia. Working with our local partners on the ground, we are in contact with 300 people in Perth dealing with homelessness, providing 1300 food parcels in Ballarat, supporting over 300 families in the Portland vicinity in Victoria targeted to receive emergency packs, and 1,500 families with young children across Victoria, NSW and SA, as well as over 500 families in remote NT and Far North Queensland, receiving education packs.
Our global network of local United Ways are partnering with 3M to address this crisis in our most vulnerable communities. Here, a national relief response is being led by United Way Australia, along with United Way West Australia, United Way South Australia, United Way Glenelg and United Way Ballarat. We are also working and supporting many partners doing amazing grass roots work including Anglicare, Australian Children’s Foundation, Ballarat Community Health, the Benevolent Society, Berry Street, Glebe Treehouse, Goodstart Early Learning, the Hive, Katherine Isolated Children’s Service, Latrobe Health Service, Lighthouse Foundation, Mission Australia and Tamworth Regional Council. Beehive Industries, Complete Office Supplies and Fuji Xerox Australia have also donated generously to this initiative.
This relief effort is funded by 3M, who teamed up with United Way Worldwide to support relief projects across the Asia-Pacific region, with their substantial relief grant of over AU$1.3 Million that come as part of a AU$29 million commitment made by 3M at a corporate level to support COVID-19 relief projects, globally. Through 3Mgives and the 3M Foundation, the company is also funding additional COVID-19 related programmes. “It’s important that 3M holds true to its core values during this pandemic by supporting Australians in need and improving lives. Throughout this global crisis, we will continue to look for ways to help in the fight against COVID-19,” said 3M Australia Managing Director Chris LeBlanc.
On behalf of all our partners and the communities we serve, we express our sincerest thanks to 3M. Collaboration is critical at a time like this. We are proud to see what a difference we can make when business, community and philanthropy work UNITED.