Article by EPIC Assist
It’s safe to say that the Moreton Bay Region, Australia and the rest of the world is a little strange right now. But amid the chaos of 2020, something brilliant has emerged—the kindness of neighbours.
Volunteers have signed up in flocks to help people all over their community through these dreary, challenging times. We’re seeing armies of volunteers putting their hands up to help healthcare workers and waves of people going out of their way to support elderly and vulnerable neighbours.
An outpouring of appreciation for our essential workers has washed over our social media feeds and it’s in these small, simple gestures that we’ve found and created a culture of community kindness.
This is altruism at its finest. When so many people have reasons to be anxious and holed up alone screaming, “Every man for themselves!” they are instead coming together in a heartening display of hope. And it is this personal, compassionate approach that is shaping and strengthening the bonds of our community, says EPIC’s Volunteer Coordinator, Mandy Brydon.
“Just as our way of life as we previously knew it has changed, so has volunteering. It has become more personal and individual focussed, even though it may be from a distance.
“The reset button has been pushed—there seems to be more care, compassion, and consideration within our communities. We are thinking more of others, especially those who may not have family or friends close by, the elderly, people with disability, the vulnerable, or individuals who are being deeply affected by what is happening around us.
“People are reaching out to complete strangers within their communities, or approaching people living in their street whom they may have never really spoken to or approached before. Having a conversation, establishing a social connection, just taking the time to listen, or offering to assist in any way.”
It’s an unprecedented response for an unprecedented time.
Over 21,000 people in Queensland alone have signed up to the Facebook page Adopt a Healthcare Worker, with identical initiatives by compassionate community members being rolled out across other states. These volunteers are connected with frontline health workers and help them out with anything from shopping, to babysitting, to cleaning and maintenance.
In the space of just 24 hours, 8500 people expressed interest in joining the Queensland Care Army—a community of volunteers dedicated to helping the elderly access necessities and support.
And after a call out for blood donations earlier in the year, droves of people rolled up their sleeves and formed a social distancing line to the doors of blood donor centres. Today, blood donations are more important than ever, and a shortage is on the horizon if numbers don’t rise soon.
It’s this generosity that keeps our communities moving, functioning, and thriving even during adversity.
Changing communities. Changing lives.
That’s the theme of this year’s National Volunteer Week, and it couldn’t be timelier.
Although the volunteering space might look a little different at the moment, it is certainly none less powerful than it was a few short months ago.
In these uncertain times of change, it’s more important than ever to recognise and acknowledge the profound impact that Australia’s volunteers have upon the community.
This National Volunteer Week, we are saying thank you to all of the volunteers who are working hard every day to make the world a better place.
To those grocery shopping for neighbours, we say thank you. To those leaving heartfelt notes in the mailboxes of their neighbours, we say thank you. To those babysitting for an essential worker, we say thank you. To those donating blood, we say thank you. To those checking in on family, friends, and vulnerable neighbours, we say thank you.
And to all of our wonderful EPIC Ambassadors, we say the warmest of thank yous. Every day, you make an immeasurable difference in the lives of people with disability, their families, and their loved ones. Your generous contributions are making the world a more inclusive and accepting place for people with disability, and we are thankful every day for your support. We can’t wait to see your smiling faces again.
“We are all in this together, and whether we realise this or not, we are all displaying the essence of what a volunteer really is,” says Mandy.
“In our own ways we have the desire, we are making the time, and we have the willingness to assist and support others just because we want to, and because we can. It really does highlight the human spirit at its best.”