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Pandemic sees significant increase in urgent requests for help

2 September 2020 Wesley Mission news

Wesley Emergency Relief provides immediate assistance to anyone in imminent risk of being unable to pay essential bills.

Wesley Mission has received a significant increase in requests support during COVID-19 and from March to June, more than 2,000 people received this type of help, an increase of 85 per cent on the same period last year. Families and individuals seeking support have shared the strain they’re under where some lost jobs due to the economic downturn, some had their working hours reduced and others whose visa conditions left them unable to apply for government assistance.

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Practical support has been provided through bill relief, food vouchers, critical medical expenses, rent arrears and vouchers for essentials such as clothes, school uniforms. Wesley Emergency Relief has helped families to maintain their tenancies, keep the power on during the cold winter months and has provided help and hope to people who have been most affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wesley Mission CEO, the Rev Keith Garner said, “We’ve seen a steady increase in requests for help since late 2019, first it was the bushfires and now the health and economic crises brought about by COVID-19.”

“This has been the greatest challenge that Australians have faced since wartime, and we must do all we can to protect the vulnerable in our society who are hardest hit and will experience the negative impacts of this crisis long after the majority of our society has recovered.”

Due to the large numbers of people seeking relief, an online request process was established to help quickly respond to the significant volume of urgent applications. People in need can apply at wesleymission.org.au

Special delivery of food hampers to Northern NSW locations
Hampers containing food and other essentials were delivered to Wesley Mission locations in Wyong, Newcastle, Taree, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Ballina. Some of these areas were impacted by bushfires in late 2019 and early 2020, with our teams receiving requests from families struggling in makeshift accommodation or having lost employment and income because of COVID-19.

Hampers were delivered to families and people experiencing hardship and were well timed to arrive as winter set in, bringing increased financial pressures such as heating costs. Many people expressed their gratitude for such a thoughtful and practical gift. One mother said, “The package arrived at just the right time… it was really what a care package should look like.”

Wesley Community Housing tenants receive hampers
Thanks to Wesley Emergency Relief, Wesley Community Housing have been able to deliver 120 care packages and gift vouchers to tenants most in need during lockdown due to COVID-19:

“Thanks so much for the amazing package. I will definitely enjoy it. I had just run out of toothpaste,” a Wesley Community Housing tenant said.

“The voucher was amazing, I was stunned when I saw $100. That is so generous. I was overwhelmed by the wonderful kindness of Wesley Mission and all the amazing people involved.”

Another tenant said: “Thanks for your wonderful gift you have delivered today – random acts of kindness. Bless you and all of the team at Wesley Mission.