Minderoo team up with volunteers to deliver 300 relief packs to regional families in need
A community care provider in Western Australia’s Great Southern region has supported the Minderoo Foundation to deliver relief packs to families left vulnerable in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, targeting families with children aged between three and five years.
A team of volunteers has delivered the 300 relief packs, which include health and hygiene essentials, books, and activities for children. The partnership with A Smart Start Great Southern (ASSGS) is the latest phase of Minderoo Foundation’s $5 million community support program, which forms part of the philanthropic organisation’s comprehensive COVID-19 response.
An early childhood initiative, ASSGS works to provide community care in times of crisis. When COVID-19 hit, the service provider deployed a rapid response team to identify families at risk, with chairperson Jo Webb quickly seeing that the pandemic would exacerbate existing issues in regional areas, such as social isolation, job loss, food insecurity, mental health, early education needs, and communication of health hygiene messages.
“With playgroups and kindies being closed, parents raised their concerns about not being able to give their children the same learning opportunities at home,” Ms Webb said.
“We took that feedback and, with the support of Minderoo Foundation, are now providing locally-sourced products and materials as part of both immediate and ongoing relief.”
Two relief packs were put together: a health hygiene pack which supports the key COVID-19 messages of washing hands and coughing safely, plus a home activity pack to encourage learning while having fun which includes board games, puzzles, a story book, card games, a scrap book and coloured pencils and crayons.
While Minderoo Foundation co-founders Andrew and Nicola Forrest provided medical equipment to protect frontline WA health workers and increased testing capacity, Mrs Forrest said basic care and comfort for isolated families and kids in the bush was also critically important.
“No matter who you are or where you live, the threat of COVID-19 has presented challenges to life as we know it,” Mrs Forrest said.
“Supporting families with young children to ensure educational needs are met is something I am particularly passionate about. A Smart Start is such an impactful program and we are proud to be able to contribute to extending its reach.”