In August 2020, a section of the warehouse for Smithfield-based charity Good360 was lined with tables, themselves lined with volunteers, filling shopping bags with stationery equipment to be sent to Victorian kids in winter COVID-19 lockdown. In July 2021, with warehouse shelves heaving with face masks and hand sanitiser to distribute, the charity itself is now behind the boundaries of restrictions.”We’ve lost all our volunteer labour, so it has been really tough for us as well,” the charity’s founder Alison Covington said.
“We have over a million items of hand sanitiser and face masks, it’s worth over $2.5 million that businesses have donated.”But being in Smithfield, in the Fairfield Council COVID-19 hotzone, meant there was not too much enthusiasm to come in to cart the PPE to outside the area. And that’s when the Bankstown coppers stepped in.
On hearing of the charity’s dilemma, a police wagon was dispatched to Good360’s Smithfield digs, along with several pairs of hands to load it up.”We want to work together with the community, to try and bring an end to this virus,” Detective Chief Inspector Darren Beeche said.”And we want to work with Good360, and be able to deliver these items.”The boss of Good360 adds: “It’s really tough here at the moment, there’s a mental load on everybody. So we want everybody to have equitable access to these PPE items.”
So after driving the gear back to Bankstown, the coppers would mask up, and hit the streets, cradling boxes of masks and bottles of sanitiser. And to a sometimes puzzled, but always grateful public, they began spruiking their product.
“Hey guys, we know hand sanitiser is expensive, would you like a bottle? Keep safe out there.”
“We know you guys are struggling out there OK, keep safe.”
The calls are always returned.“Thank you so much for what you do.”
“Is it for free? Thank you!”
“Much appreciated, helps us a lot; we need it.”
“People are putting on a very brave front, they’re treating us very well”, Chief Inspector Beeche said.
“We’re having really good interactions with the community.
“Just doing the little things, doing what’s being asked of us, that’s what’s going to keep us safe.
“We’ll all work together, and we’ll get there, and by working together, we’ll get there a lot quicker.”