As thousands of Victorians across nine public housing towers in inner Melbourne are forced to stay inside under a heavy police guard for at least the next five days, many people across the state and the country are looking to help out in any way possible.
Though the Victorian Government released a statement on July 5, confirming that residents will be provided food, essential supplies, health care and mental health service, as well as hardship payments to households affected by the lockdown, many Aussies are still wanting to help however they can.
If you’re able to give assistance to those in the strict lockdown across the Flemington and North Melbourne blocks, here’s how you can help out the residents of the public housing towers in Melbourne.
How To Help Locked-Down Residents In Melbourne’s Public Housing Towers
1. Donate Money
The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (ASRC) is currently working with Victorian Trades Hall to cater thousands of culturally-appropriate meals for the residents of the towers, and you can donate money to help supply catering directly to the residents through the ASRC website.
Foodbank is also taking monetary donations to help pull together emergency boxes for residents, which you can contribute to over on the website.
You can also donate to Refugees, Survivors and Ex-Detainees (RISE), the first Refugee and Asylum Seeker-run organisation in Australia. Their Twitter is currently a live feed of updates from inside and around the towers, bringing important perspectives from the residents.
The National Homeless Collective has been donating sanitary items and baby essentials to the towers this week, and you can donate fund to the organisation over on its website.
2. Donate Groceries At A Drop Off Point
Several drop-off points around the Melbourne region have popped up for people to donate groceries and essential items for residents at the nine locked-down towers.
In North Melbourne, the youth branch of the Australian Muslim Social Services Agency (AMSSA) is actively taking donations of items, and specifically requested things like simple medications, toilet paper, sanitary items, baby products, uncooked food, and personal protection equipment (PPE) like masks, gloves, and hand sanitiser. Donations can be made at the AMSSA Centre on Boundary Rd from 11am to 7pm today (July 7.)
The Sikh Volunteers Australia has also been working hard to pull together free meals for tower residents from their kitchens south-east of Melbourne. To keep the kitchens running and the meals free, the collective has requested urgent monetary and fresh produce donations to continue to provide for the residents, including fresh and frozen vegetables, tinned and dry legumes, and spices. Check out the volunteers’ urgent donation needs over on Facebook.
3. Donate Groceries Online
If you’re living outside of the area or do not feel comfortable physically donating food at a drop-off point, you can also donate by buying groceries online. Donations to the ASRC can be made through the Coles online shop with free delivery to the ASRC donation centre. A guide from the ASRC is below on how to make an online grocery delivery for the ASRC Foodbank.
4. Volunteer Your Time
Moroccan Soup Bar in the city’s inner north is also taking to the kitchen to provide emergency meals to the Melbourne tower residents. If you live in the inner north suburbs and have some time on your hands, you can contact the kitchen to see how you can help out through their Facebook, or by calling (03) 9486 3500.
5. Send An Email To The Victorian Government
If you’re not in a position to give time, money or physical grocery donations, that’s totally fine too. What you can do, is express your feelings about the tower lockdowns to the the Victorian government. Sending an email to Premier Dan Andrews and Victorian Minister for Housing Richard Wynne takes about ten minutes tops, and is a simple way for your voice to be heard. A Google doc has been shared around with a template for emails, but it’s best for you to write something yourself or personalise the template so lessen the chances of it getting filtered into a spam folder.
You can reach the Premier on email@example.com and the Minister for Housing on firstname.lastname@example.org.