24 May 2020
By Laura Marchese
When COVID-19 hijacked our way of life as we know it, many volunteer programs across Australia were forced to completely suspend the programs and support they offered. Many of our counterparts felt redundant or superfluous without a program to deliver and volunteers to connect with others. Unsurprisingly, our program saw sudden and necessary change too; many volunteers made the important and respected decision to temporarily step down from their roles, and the type of support that our volunteers were able to provide to the community changed overnight.
Despite this change in support and status movement, our program was not completely suspended. In fact, our small volunteer team of two has felt busier than ever! We reached out to our volunteers, and so many reached back out to us, willing and wanting to be repurposed into roles that still provided meaningful and valuable support to those most vulnerable.
Our volunteers have remained engaged – socially distanced and with new protocols – in many ways including: making regular social connection ‘check in’ calls to clients, delivery services of items and food supplies to people’s front doors, offering skills and time to students and families overwhelmed by remote-learning, sorting and distributing generously donated items to the community, and repairing old bikes for struggling families so they can enjoy a ride in the sunshine, and our ever committed board and committee members have continued to guide our organisation and ensure that all involved at Jewish Care are kept safe and protected.
So, during National Volunteer Week, we thank our volunteers for remaining connected and engaged in any and all ways they can. Despite the battle that COVID-19 has forced us to fight, our volunteers have continued to ‘change communities and change lives’.
Happy 2020 National Volunteer Week!