Rob and Jess from The Exodus Foundation came down to Addison Road Community Organisation this morning to talk about what is happening across the city during COVID-19.
Rob explained that many charity and community groups are “shuttering” or, at best, reducing themselves down to one day a week services. “Exodus are the only one out there, open and working with the poor and the homeless seven days a week.”
He and Jess are here to work out how to work with Addi Road’s Emergency Food Preparedness and Response Centre. They need to take away the food hampers in boxes that we have been making and mix them with their own food packages. It’s a special needs scenario.
“We need to put them in bags not boxes,” Rob explains, as most of the people that The Exodus Foundation work with are homeless and need to be mobile. “They will want to put the food in their backpacks so they can take it with them.”
Jess says the other problem Exodus are having is just helping the homeless washing their clothes. They gave people vouchers to redeem at a laundromat the other day – but when they went to wash clothes the laundromat had closed like so many businesses.
Exodus looked to a short term solution on the day, spending a few hundred dollars on cheap clothes at K Mary just to get their clients into fresh clothes again.
The obvious dilemma remains… How long before a few days, or a week passes and people need clean clothes again? An issue of dignity as much as health and safety in the present virus times.
Rob and Jess stand on the wide expanse of grass outside Addi Road’s Emergency Food Preparedness and Response Centre. They talk with Addi Road CEO Rosanna Barbero about the intensity of the situation across the city – and how they are now among a small group of local community organisations operating at full tilt in a very difficult situation.
How can we work together? How do we get more media and political support? What can we do to get any funding from the government at all? And on the most immediate and concrete levels, what is happening on the street – and what are the most needed steps forward, right now, today?
Rob and Jess part company with Rosanna. As Rob leaves he jokes that it’s like some terrible Enid Blyton story out there. “Everything’s gone topsy turvy. That’s the land we’re trying to work in at the moment.”
Rosanna is looking forward to strengthening the ties between The Exodus Foundation and Addi Road. There are days when it feels like nothing is enough; days when allies gather and everyone’s courage for the fight is strengthened.
“They’re beautiful people,” Rosanna says of the Exodus team. “They’re feeding people none of us get to or even see.”
Story by Mark Mordue
You can make a financial donation to Addison Road Community Organisation here: https://addiroad.org.au/donations/donate-now/
More on Bill Crews Exodus Foundation here: https://www.exodusfoundation.org.au/about/