The crew at Coast Shelter are still doling out meals and other aid in the most difficult of circumstances.
The crew at Coast Shelter are still doling out meals and other aid in the most difficult of circumstances.

Coast shelter asking for help

COAST Shelter is still operating for everyone who requires its help, through meals, crisis accommodation and information about services - but it's not easy.

"It's a daily challenge at the moment," said CEO Rachel Willis. "The pace of change - both practice and lifestyle - is hard for most people to get their heads around."

Rachel said the impact of coronavirus was no more harshly felt than by people already doing it tough.

On top of its regular homeless and at-risk clients, the shelter has increasingly been contacted by families and people who have lost jobs, are feeling financial pressures and unsure who to ask for help.

"We are certainly putting systems in place and keeping ourselves up with current changes so people looking for information at a time when they are already overburdened and stressed have a nice clean gateway to the services they need," she said.

The Shelter has "rethought" many of its services, including offering its weekday lunches as takeaways from 11am-1pm, still providing basic food and toiletries, as well as laundry and shower facilities in shifts, adding to cleaning demands.

However, with most of their volunteer base comprising Seniors, and therefore more vulnerable to the effects of Coronavirus, she said many found themselves unable to continue helping out.

Food donations and secondhand goods can also no longer be accepted due to infection control, putting added pressure on the service, including staff spending hours shopping.

Most of the events that regularly fundraise for Coast Shelter have also been cancelled or postponed. To help, the shelter has started the #Givit19 campaign, asking for monetary donations towards the purchase of food.

"I have been absolutely blown away by the Central Coast community and their generosity," Rachel said of the over $20,000 raised to early April.

To find out more about Coast Shelter or to make a donation go to https://coastshelter.org.au/, phone 02 4325 3540, find them on Facebook or go to bit.ly/Givit19ForCoastShelter.


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