Long-term Family Life CEO, Jo Cavanagh OAM, is urging the local community to use their strength to get through these troubling times and to dig deep for the members of the community who have little support.
“These are unprecedented times, vulnerable people are even more at risk and need us to maintain and increase the services we provide. We are an essential service.” Ms Cavanagh said.
“In my 25 years in the role as CEO of Family Life, I have weathered some challenges but never one so great as what we are facing today.
“We’ve been through recessions, the global financial crisis, helped communities through bushfires and floods, but COVID-19 is another thing. It’s hitting hard in all corners of the world and the punches keep on coming.”
This year Family Life celebrates 50 years of supporting the community. Having been started by a group of local volunteers in 1970 to now helping more than 11,000 people in the last financial year, this not-for-profit has seen a lot.
“As a result of COVID-19, we have accelerated our online service development and actioned staff to work remotely. The leadership team has worked all hours to ensure this transition is safe and effective for staff and clients,” Ms Cavanagh said.
However, in response to COVID-19 the organisation has had to close all five of its Op Shops, which have previously been relied upon to support the community throughout the bayside suburbs and down the Mornington Peninsula. They have also had to suspend their volunteer workforce and stop accepting donations of recycling goods due to the reduced workforce, social distancing and limited storage capacity.
“Many of the families we help are seeking support for family violence. Which, in situations of turmoil and uncertainty, become more frequent and escalate in severity.
“With the closure of our op shops, which financially supported many of our programs, we are facing significant challenges to our resourcing and income.
“Whilst we understand that everyone is feeling the impacts of these unprecedented events, if you are in a position to do so, please consider making a financial contribution to Family Life.
“We will do all we can to keep going and ask you to please help us as our revenue goes down.”