The second wave of lockdowns has left many university students in Canberra unable to put food on the table, particularly overseas students whose families have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The current restrictions also mean many students, who work casual jobs in hospitality and retail, are relying on an unreliable source of income.
The Lions Club of Canberra City has once again stepped up to lend a hand, running a major fundraiser to support international students who have been heavily impacted by coronavirus.
The club has so far raised $10,500 to provide more than 200 $50 grocery vouchers for struggling visiting students.
City Lions president Tony Farrell says that with the closure of Australia’s borders last year, many international students studying at Canberra’s universities became isolated from their families and were unable to return home.
“Many families who had sacrificed much to enable their children to gain an education to improve their future were, because of the impact of COVID at home on their finances, unable to send money to support their children in Australia,” Tony said.
“The restrictions imposed in Australia in our struggle to overcome the virus here meant that many students lost the work that they would otherwise have had to support themselves during their studies.”
Tony says while the Australian Government provided JobKeeper and JobSeeker to support some Australians, international students received no support.
“These young people, through no fault of their own, found themselves in a dire situation,” he explained.
In conjunction with the University of Canberra’s Laurie Poretti and her Student Welfare Team, Tony’s team set about fundraising to regularly purchase grocery vouchers. The vouchers are being distributed to the neediest students.
While the spread of the highly contagious Delta strain has changed how community service groups meet and fundraise, there’s one thing that hasn’t changed – the determination of Australia’s volunteers to make a difference.
From caring for kids in quarantine and delivering food to hospitals and vaccination hubs to sending oxygen machines to countries in need overseas, Lions volunteers across Australia continue to go above and beyond during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lions Australia will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year, and City Lions have been serving the ACT community since 1958.
Lions Australia CEO Rob Oerlemans says he is delighted to see how volunteers across the country are continuing to support their communities through COVID-19.
“At Lions, we pride ourselves on the work we do to help others and make our communities better places to live. Right now, our service is needed more than ever.
“From raffles, sausage sizzles and trivia nights to environmental work and supporting the deaf, blind and vulnerable, our volunteers are traditionally very hands-on and involved in their communities.
“It’s been wonderful to see so many of our clubs adapting to support each other and their communities through the health pandemic.”
Anyone keen to help out, or donate, can contact Tony via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.