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17 September 2020 Posted by 


More help needed, as revenue falls
CHARITIES are seeing more people seeking help because of the Covid19 pandemic but because of the economic downturn and redundancies, organisations, including the Salvos, have seen a big drop in their income from fundraisers.
Another little-known impact of COVID-19 has been less regular volunteers because several are in the high-risk category.
According to Salvation Army's NSW spokesman Captain Brad McIver, there is a 20 per cent drop in fundraising even as numbers seeking help rose by 40 per cent.
"Despite the decline (in revenues from fundraising), we are very thankful and grateful to those giving to the Salvation Army," Captain McIver said. "It's pretty good considering the circumstances.
"We are seeing over 800 individuals every day throughout western Sydney and providing assistance ranging from hampers, to case management and financial counselling assistance."
A case in point is Liverpool Salvos which serves 250 meals per week, up by 130. 
"There has been a 40 per cent increase in presentations in the last month and we are expecting this to increase over time," he said.
Captain McIver, who has been involved with Red Shield Appeal since he was a child, said their major fundraiser each year, the Red Shield Appeal, was held in May in the middle of the Covid19 lockdown.
Captain McIver said that the small community fundraisers, including sausage sizzles at Bunnings stores, were usually held by local churches. These too have been suspended for now.
"Many of our volunteers are elderly so it is our duty to ensure they are also safe during this time," Captain McIver said.
The Smith Family said the drop in volunteers has affected programs in western Sydney. The organisation, which said it is unable to provide figures for fundraising because their annual report has not been published, said programs have been impacted.
“We have seen a decline in the number of volunteers during the pandemic, with many people reluctant to take public transport, or staying at home to look after their health," Fiona Coluccio, The Smith Family NSW and ACT General Manager, said.
"Volunteers are the key to our Learning Clubs and Covid-19 has affected our ability to deliver programs in western Sydney."
However, she said her organisation, which helps 56,000 students in Australia via its Learning for Life program, found a positive in all this.
"COVID-19 has provided a unique opportunity to deepen the strong connection we have with our volunteers," Ms Coluccio said.
"We are continuing to support and engage our volunteers by regularly connecting with them and setting up opportunities where they can contribute via remote models.”
"Our Learning for Life program is about supporting and empowering young disadvantaged children and their families on their education journey.
"Yes, each year that number has grown and each year we work in partnership with these students and their families to enable them in their educational journey.”
Learning Clubs provide both primary and secondary students with tutoring after school hours and are run in 12 communities in greater Western Sydney and 32 in NSW.
Support the Salvos: www.salvationarmy.org.au
Support The Smith Family: www.thesmithfamily.com.au


Michael Walls
0407 783 413

Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.