If you’ve been shopping at Supabarn supermarkets lately, community foundation Hands Across Canberra would like to say thank you.
Customers at the homegrown supermarket chain have helped to raise more than $14,300 for local charities through their Supahands campaign – a contact-free donation online or instore at participating Supabarn locations.
Hands Across Canberra says the money raised comes at a time when help is urgently needed in the Canberra community as the second ACT COVID-19 lockdown has taken its toll on vulnerable people.
Recent research from the Australian Council of Social Service and the University of NSW shows that although in 2020 robust additional COVID-19 income supports enabled many people who were out of paid work to cover the basics, most people on the lowest income support payments have been denied extra support in 2021.
The end of COVID-19 Disaster Payments when Australia reaches its 80 per cent vaccination target is likely to mean the people most deeply impacted by the 2021 outbreak of the virus face a highly uncertain road to financial recovery, according to the research.
Hands Across Canberra CEO Peter Gordon says this time around, Canberra’s charities have noticed that needs have changed. During the initial lockdown in 2020, charities were hit hard by the lack of fundraising opportunities and increased public demand.
But in 2021, it’s more personal.
The call is for food, rental assistance and essential supplies as government support has changed and many more businesses and employers have been hit hard by the Canberra outbreak of COVID-19.
“This assistance could not have been better timed,” says Peter. “Recent events have resulted in a higher demand for services from charities and community organisations working with our most vulnerable people.
“These charities are having to adapt quickly, and support people in new ways, ensuring basic needs are met.”
Hands Across Canberra released two rounds of funding from the ACT Chief Minister’s Charitable Fund in September 2021, and Peter says this reflected the level of need in the community.
Hands Across Canberra is now asking ACT residents to ‘give where we live’, and the Supabarn fundraising has been most welcome.
“Supabarn committed to the cause early on and actively worked with us to raise additional funding so we can get it to where it is needed most,” says Peter.
The fundraiser was launched on 24 August and ended in early October.
Supabarn general manager Theo Koundouris thanked customers and the wider Canberra community for their support during the appeal period.
“It’s a heartwarming feeling to see our Canberra community supporting each other in our time of need,” he says.
“I don’t think there is anyone who hasn’t felt the pressures of lockdown in some form during the past months; however, some have had to face harder struggles than others.
“To see many of our customers giving what they can to help is a wonderful thing for us to witness and be part of.
“We’re also thankful to Hands Across Canberra and the many charities they work with for the amazing work they do.”