Geoff had always been a hard worker. Prior to COVID-19 he held three part time jobs, one as a bus driver. Like many other Australians, Geoff lost all his work when the pandemic hit. As if that wasn’t bad enough, not long after becoming unemployed his car broke down completely, and he was forced to dip into super to replace it.
All through 2020 he struggled to make ends meet. Rent and other bills piled up; groceries became unaffordable. His mental health suffered.
Asking for help
“Geoff first came to our door last Christmas in need of help,” relates Kate Killick from CareWorks SunRanges, a charity that provides food and assistance with bills to the people of Sunbury, Victoria. “We gave him food vouchers, and went on to help him pay his rent.
“He told me the best thing about coming to us was the friendly welcome he received. We listened to him tell his story when he had no one else to tell.”
The CareWorks ethos is that listening, openly and with compassion, allows people seeking support to feel heard and have their feelings validated. All volunteers are selected with this in mind, and trained to become great listeners.
“Geoff struggled with his mental health so just providing a friendly ear has made so much difference in his life,” Kate explains.
Immediate help for those in need
Like many regions across Australia, COVID-19 had a devastating impact on the people of Sunbury. The community is situated on the urban fringe of Melbourne, close to Tullamarine Airport. Many of its residents worked in the air travel industry, for example as ground staff, and are now unemployed.
More than 400 people rely on CareWorks for food support every week.
The Foundation was able to help with a Community Grant toward CareWorks’ operational costs: including electricity for its commercial-size refrigerators and freezers; insurance; rent; water, gas and telephone bills; and delivery van running costs.
Geoff pays it forward
Geoff was very grateful for all the assistance he received from CareWorks and wanted to repay their kindness. “He asked if we needed any volunteers,” says Kate. “As it so happened we were in need of a driver for our delivery van, and with his experience as a bus driver Geoff was the perfect fit.”
Now Geoff turns up every week to help with deliveries and picking up food donations.
“He greatly enjoys his time volunteering with us, having formed some lovely friendships with his fellow volunteers,” says Kate.
What is the Community Grants Program?
Every year the Sisters of Charity Foundation provides grants of up to $15,000 to small not-for-profits across Australia that use clever ways to fight poverty, loneliness, suffering and oppression. We rely on the generosity of our supporters to fund our Community Grants Program.
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