ADRA’s emergency response to COVID-19

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Sabbath school rooms in Ferntree Gully transformed into supplies storage and packing areas.

As the world adapts to changes resulting from coronavirus (COVID-19), ADRA and the Seventh-day Adventist Church are leading the way in helping people across many parts of Australia.

“We got a letter to say that the government recognises ADRA and the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a major emergency service in this time,” said John Smilek, community liaison and coordinator for ADRA Victoria.

As more Australians experience hardship from lost jobs and income and food shortages in supermarkets, emergency meals are one of the most in-demand services in the country.

Australia wide, Sabbath school rooms and church halls have been transformed into storehouses for volunteers to sort and pack supplies. Community meals are now being prepared as takeaway meals, and delivery drivers are lined up to do a no-contact non-perishable food drop.

In Western Australia, Seventh-day Adventist churches are working closely with ADRA to ensure that their service projects can continue during this period. All existing church service projects are being asked to temporarily come under ADRA’s guidance to reduce the risk to volunteers.

“There are opportunities to assist current ADRA projects through donations of non-perishable food and toiletries; assist as volunteers in ADRA community pantries or emergency relief programs putting together food parcels and care packages; doing food delivery to the elderly and disabled,” said Suzanna Cuplovic, conference ADRA director for Western Australia.

ADRA is also a member of the State Welfare Emergency Committee in Western Australia. During this period, volunteers will assist in hotel accommodation placement and welfare checks over the phone, and food parcel delivery.

But while the need for physical goods is at the front of everyone’s minds, ADRA projects are anticipating the need for mental health services.

“We’ll be helping with psycho-social support as well,” said Mrs Cuplovic. “We’ve got a large range of counsellors and psychologists so if people are getting really anxious or depressed as they’re isolated in their homes they can tap into that today.”

In the Greater Sydney Conference, ADRA Blacktown, which is well-known for offering free counselling services, has moved services to online and over the phone to prevent infection.

You can support vulnerable people in Australia and overseas by donating online at adra.org.au/donate or calling 1800 242 372.