Former Canberra Raiders star Terry Campese has had a busy 12 months working tirelessly for his charity foundation.
The Terry Campese Foundation has helped many people during the crippling drought in the Canberra region and provided essential support during the past summer’s devastating bushfires. However, Terry received many additional requests following a Facebook post last week.
The foundation’s social media post offered help to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with essential items including food, clothes, furniture, whitegoods, toys, baby items and laptops. But Terry needed a helping hand.
In stepped GIVIT, a not-for-profit, government-supported national organisation which has more than 300 charities on its books across Canberra and the surrounding area. Its job is to work with charities to deliver items from public and corporate donors through its 100 per cent online platform.
The organisation’s work is done through a virtual warehouse where registered charities can choose items online to collect and give to struggling individuals or families.
The hardship that individuals and families have gone through due to the COVID-19 pandemic has touched the hearts of Terry and GIVIT’s ACT manager Caroline Odgers, who strive to help the community as best they can during these uncertain times.
Terry registered his charity through GIVIT during the bushfires and that is where he came into contact with Caroline.
She has been working in Canberra and the surrounding region during the past three years and the organisation has been doing everything it can to provide a reliable service. Her organisation worked incredibly hard during the bushfires and there was little time to recover before the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“We were supporting people’s rebuild from the fires, but then COVID-19 ramped up last month,” says Caroline. “It looked like we were gaining momentum and then the pandemic to hit. It has been heartbreaking for people living in those affected areas.
“It just adds a whole new level of stress to the situation, but it’s wonderful to have foundations such as Terry’s who are our eyes and ears on the ground where they have found people living in hardship.”
Terry had no doubts getting involved with GIVIT given the shared values of the organisation and his foundation.
“Caroline told me about her organisation and what they do,” he says. “We have been running since 2012 and are always trying to help people in need who are in rough times … given what we do, we registered and it has been quite successful so far.”
Being able to fulfil requests that help people in need is something Terry significantly values.
“When you can help in some capacity, it makes all the time worthwhile,” he says. “There are four of us involved and we all volunteer our time and put in our fair share. We are fortunate to be in a position where we have a bit of time on our hands to make a difference and that’s why we set up this charity.”
Terry and Caroline have been exposed to heartbreaking stories such as a family of 10 on a disability and carer’s pension who needed a new oven because their current one was unsafe, or the one where a mother in a family struck by tragedy was in need of computers to use for home schooling her children.
“GIVIT has been lucky that Canberrans are very supportive of the organisation,” says Caroline. “We have a huge donor community which is so generous and gets behind us.
“We are seeing a lot of people experiencing survivors’ guilt by being stuck at home, and people who usually wouldn’t [offer] to help during COVID-19 are doing it. We say you don’t even need to leave your lounge room to donate funds or items that you have around the house.”
People can participate by listing an item with a description of what they want to give to a charity. Collection is as easy as leaving it outside your front door at home.
For more information about how you can get involved, head to the GIVIT website here.
If you are in need of any essential items during COVID-19, you can email or message The Terry Campese Foundation on its Facebook page.