A grassroots service that sees volunteers deliver food and basic household items to refugees in Australia is strengthening bonds between asylum seekers and the community.
The Vinnies Refugee Support Services supports families seeking asylum in Australia, many of whom fear returning home and end up living well below the poverty line.
“Many are enduring hardships here in Australia just hoping for the opportunity to move forward in their lives, and provide their children a safe home and future,” says co-ordinator Karenna Alexander
Visa restrictions, separation from family and no access to government support mean that many of the men, women and children are living in Australia without any income and means to support themselves and their children.
“These families are living in severe financial destitution, at risk of homelessness and struggling to put food on the table.”
Under the initiative, families receive large hampers that consist of food and basic household items with family size and cultural requirements taken into consideration.
One of the factors that made this initiative a success is that internal relationships and resources have been put to work.
“The myth in our community that asylum seekers are illegal has had a terrible impact on the people we work with; they have experienced isolation, shame and prejudice and have at times been refused access to support in the community,” Karenna said.
“A small gesture of care such as Front Door Deliveries has big meaning for the families. They have expressed deep gratitude and happiness when receiving this extra support.”
Read the Vinnies Social Justice Statement on homelessness, cost of living pressures, and refugees.