As Sydneysiders and Melburnians gear up psychologically for more forced time indoors while health authorities extend lockdowns to get on top of COVID-19 outbreaks, a social enterprise is calling on the public to help Australia's vulnerable homeless community who have nowhere to be locked down.
Co-founded by Gali Blacher and Maddy Jones, Queensland-based The Good Box and its team are doing everything in their power to keep our homeless community warm and fed during this challenging time.
"We make beautifully packaged gift boxes that are purchased by the public online and then handed to our homeless community," says Blacher.
"We currently have close on 1000 orders a week from our charity partners who require our winter box which is a box filled with wonderful winter items such as a hoodie, beanies, soup sachet and more.
"However, support always suffers during lockdown but homelessness doesn't stop."
Blacher's comments are echoed by Jones, who notes a lot of support services stop during lockdowns.
"We get non-stop phone calls from various organisations and charities for our boxes as they help keep our homeless community warm and remind them they matter! Each box has a personalised note inside the box to help instil dignity and brighten up the day of someone doing it tough," Jones says.
The Good Box received a phone call on Friday morning from a woman in lockdown in Melbourne who was trying to find support for a man sleeping rough on the streets of Moonee Ponds with no warm clothing in the height of winter.
"The lady couldn't receive any support for this man as it is lockdown but he was lonely and cold on the streets of Melbourne while everyone else was in their warm house," Blacher says.
The Good Box connected the man to support services and organised for a winter box to be sent his way to help him receive the essentials he needs for winter and to help him receive a good meal.
If The Good Box doesn't receive more support, it won't be able to fulfil the need from its charity partners.
"We are inundated with requests right now to send through Winter Boxes and we just can't keep up with the need. We really need further support from the community to help our friends in need," Jones says.
Boxes can be donated for $21.99 and are sent directly to someone experiencing homelessness in Australia. The Good Box distributes to more than 30 charity partners nationally including Orange Sky Australia, MCC Carenet, Bethany, Jewish House, Vinnies, Melbourne City Mission and Anglicare.
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