Acts of Kindness (during COVID-19)

While the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many ugly and selfish acts over the last months, it is exciting to see the amazing acts of kindness, generosity and social connection being displayed at the community level.

The City of Melville wants to acknowledge all the community kindness and connection spread across the local community during COVID-19.

Penpal Program - Bicton..

Gerald Burns Pharmacy found an innovative way to connect the generations through a pen pal program with the help of Bicton Primary School. Over the past two months, twenty-five older residents in the community have participated in the program, along with students in Years 4 to Year 6 at Bicton Primary School. The two groups send each other regular letters, writing about everything from TikTok to what it was like living through a world war. They have enjoyed learning about each other’s worlds and new friendships have been formed.

Loneliness and social isolation was something we were concerned about before we even knew about COVID. In Bicton we have a lot of older people who live by themselves, don’t know their neighbours or have any family close by. They’ve had the most incredible lives but don’t have anyone to share this with. If you’ve ever had a pen pal, you’ll understand the joy that a hand-written letter can give. With the events of 2020, our pen pal project has become even more meaningful. It’s been a delight to see the reactions from everyone.

Booragoon Mall Walking Group

During COVID-19 lockdown, the Mall Walking program at Westfield Booragoon Shopping Centre was suspended for 3 months. Realising the impacts on mental and physical health during the lockdown, the mall walkers supported each other by telephone. And, a number of Mall Walkers arranged to walk outdoors to the river in smaller groups.

Food Ministry Support in the area of Willagee - Kardinya

Local Anglican Church is adapting to help more people

Each week, the Anglican Diocese of Perth through St Thomas of Canterbury Church supplies food items to people and families doing it tough in the Willagee and Kardinya area.

However, due to COVID-19 restrictions and physical distancing measures, access to the church became restricted.  Further, as items could not be rehandled, the ability to personally choose items could no longer be offered, much to the dismay of volunteers and those accessing the service.

The food service was facing the same challenges as other community services across Australia as they too deal with an increase in demand while contending with restrictions and fewer resources.

Yet the food ministry service is keeping up with demand, says church volunteer William (Wally) Phoebe, who is happy the team has been able to continue to provide some food and friendship support to those who come to the Church’s front door.

“To control the handling of the food items, we now package ‘mini hampers’ the day before and have them available on the Wednesday morning from our front door only and we drop off emergency deliveries at other times as needed,” Mr Phoebe said.

Mr Phoebe said the service has been able to continue to meet increased demand due to an allocation of funds from an outside source, the local IGA and the support of surrounding Anglican parishes.  The church volunteers work in teams with at least three people making themselves available each Wednesday morning and a similar number of people needed to pack hampers on a Tuesday morning.

St Thomas of Canterbury Church, located at 77-79 Archibald Street, Willagee , is an active and growing mission-minded parish of the Anglican Diocese of Perth serving the community of Willagee and Kardinya.

Free Food program

During  CoviD-19 FIAWA coordinated a Free Food Program to provide food and grocery relief to those in our community that were effected including students, seniors and those who faced job loss...It took five weeks to implement the program from the initial response.. Seven restaurants and grocery stores took part in the program providing a free delivery service by volunteers. The Association provided 100 grocery packages  to people in need.

Federation of Indian Association of WA also coordinated an ‘Adopt a Student ‘program for university students who were in need of accommodation during this time. Atul Garg, an active City of Melville resident and current chair person of the association said:  ‘Since COVID-19, we have provided free food and groceries, engaged with elderly community members, assisting with transportation and shelter’.

Little Free Library – Sid Eaton Reserve

Social-distancing restrictions have caused communities to spend more time outdoors in their local neighbourhoods. Street libraries became an instant avenue for the community due to the increase of foot traffic.

Our own resident, Cornelia Major was sparked by the idea of a street library. ‘I always loved the idea of Little Free Libraries, as they encourage a more sustainable lifestyle and are a fun community project, which helps to connect local residents. Most of all, they foster the life-long love of reading.’

The Little Free Library project was a collaboration with the Bicton’s Men Shed; who constructed the look alike traditional house. The little library located in the Sid Eaton Reserve in Alfred Cove has been named ‘The Book Nook’ due to its resemblance of a traditional house.

Street Libraries are a window into the mind of a community; books come and go; no-one needs to check them in or out. People can simply reach in and take what interests them; when they are done, they can return them to The Book Nook, or pass them on to friends. They are a symbol of trust and hope – a tiny vestibule of literary happiness.

Doorstep Dinners

Maeve and her husband have been volunteering with St Pat’s for almost 10 years now, so when the opportunity arose for them to get involved with Doorstep Dinners, they didn’t hesitate to say yes. Doorstep Dinners started in April as a COVID response.  The program was coordinated by St Patrick’s Community Support Centre with the assistance of Rise Network and United Way with funding from The Minderoo Foundation, The McCusker Charitable Trust, Fremantle Ports and public donations.  The focus of Doorstep Dinners was to deliver restaurant meals to the vulnerable in the South West Metro Area, those who were isolated or self isolating and finding it difficult to get to the shops.  The program provided meals for the elderly and those in need, whilst also lending a helping hand to local eateries throughout Fremantle, by helping them stay afloat during stage 4 lockdown restrictions.

Maeve was part of the close-knit team of volunteers which dropped off the meals to these vulnerable households, describing how rewarding she found the experience, “it provided my husband and I with a wonderful sense of fulfilment, allowing us to give back to the community which has given us so much”.  The program allowed Maeve to develop her connections with Fremantle residents and find comfort in her sense of community belonging. Many of our volunteers have stories like Maeve’s, underscoring the resounding community impact the Doorstep Dinners program had, particularly in fostering a sense of solidarity and belonging in such unprecedented times.

“My husband and I found it pretty stressful initially, trying to find our way around the streets of Freo, but we soon grew as familiar with the neighbourhood as we did with the residents” says Maeve, illustrating the strong social bonds formed between the volunteers and the recipients throughout the course of the program. Maeve’s experience is indicative of how the program managed to benefit many facets of the community, from the volunteers and the restaurants to the recipients and the wider community.

Door Step Freo

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