Charity calls for help to get $2.5m PPE to most vulnerable

A Sydney-based charity is urgently trying to push out $2.5 million worth of products like hand sanitiser and masks but have come up against a big problem.

One of Australia’s leading charities is calling for urgent support to distribute more than $2.5 million in PPE to the vulnerable after being crippled by lockdown restrictions.

Good360’s Smithfield warehouse, in the Fairfield LGA, has been hit hard by lockdown, which shut out its volunteer workforce and halted click and collect services due to the risk of transmission.

Thousands of charities in Sydney and around Australia rely on Good360 for PPE, hand sanitiser, cleaning products along with items like school supplies and winter clothing, which are donated by businesses and ​offered for free.

Now reliant on expensive freight to distribute goods, CEO and Founder of Good360, Alison Covington, said demand for items had tripled as lockdowns dragged on.

“We’ve got a huge increase in cost because we’ve got three times as many orders going out.

“They have to be paid to be shipped around the country, they are no longer being picked up,” she said.

“It’s a really big strain on a charity like ourselves. But we have to make sure that communities are getting access to these vital products. It’s everything to keep our community safe.”

With no recurrent government funding, Good360’s ability to continue providing charities, non profits, community groups and schools with items in need is now being tested, she said.

In the past ten days, the charity had supplied 600,000 items to groups largely in lockdown-affected Sydney, as well as Melbourne and Brisbane, with no funding and just 10 warehouse staff.

She said while food relief was an ‘obvious’ need during Covid, other items were in huge demand, including face masks, along with school supplies for families unable to work and facing extended lockdowns.

The organisation is now calling for government funding for help to distribute the vital PPE items. The 2020 Charity of the Year, is also seeking delivery partners that can donate free space in their trucks to help distribute goods.

Good360 matches donated items with groups in need nationwide, from non-profits to women’s health centres, and public schools across the country. Local recipients include:

– 2000 face masks to Affordable Community Housing (Evolve Housing), RRP: $1900

– 688 PPE items to Cumberland Women’s Health Centre, RRP: $6000

– 4560 PPE items to Fairfield West Public School, RRP: $13,000

– 8632 PPE items to Greenacre Disability Services, RRP: $30,000

– 12,000 PPE items to Uniting Youth Hope in Liverpool, RRP: $33,000

– 2000 face masks to Mission Australia – Canterbury Bankstown Youth Service, RRP: $1900

Working at pace since the 2020 bushfires right through Covid, like many charities, staff and volunteers are exhausted. But as lockdown drags on, she said the need was surging.

“It’s from the charities through to the schools who are helping their local communities because there’s a lot of new vulnerable people,” she said.

“These very tough restrictions, especially in those eight LGAs, there’s families and workers who just can’t work from home. Or they have absolutely lost the ability to have an income to support their families.

“We’re doing three times as much work as we can to make sure these communities are getting what they need.”

The public can donate to help pay to freight items out, with every $1 getting two items to people in need.

Since March 2020, Good360 has connected 5,623,158 requested items to COVID-19 affected communities with a total value $40.89 million.

Visit Good360 for details.

Published by The Daily Telegraph – Gillian McNally August 3 2021

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