Online charity GIVIT has been working overtime to provide support to other charities across Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the last year GIVIT has facilitated the donation of over 38,000 items to charities across the country through its Indigenous program.
One charity in particular was the COOEE Family and Community Education Centre in Brisbane. The Centre works in the spheres of justice, education, health and housing.
Through GIVIT, the Centre was able to receive a donation of laptops to support their education programs and assist students with their schooling.
COOEE Program Manager, Margie Kennedy, said due to schools not being able to provide laptops or iPads, some of the local students were falling behind.
“A lot of our younger ones were falling behind majorly and that was raised at one of our Redland Indigenous Service Provider Meetings by one of the Elders that work in the school. One of our service providers who works for an Aboriginal Medical Centre in our area, mentioned GIVIT,” Kennedy said.
“He said it is a great platform, and just to give it a go. So, I registered!
“It grew from there, they provided the laptops, we held a couple at COOEE, and two went to the students.
“We have students come down to COOEE as well, we don’t have really up-to-date computers and laptops. Ours are a bit old. When students come down, they can use those to do their assignments. It has really helped.”
Kennedy also noted the extra help GIVIT provided by donating other items.
“We had another issue with a lady who was on the edge of getting evicted because her lawn was too high. We put that on the platform and a mower was donated,” she said.
“It keeps them in their property, and it keeps housing off their back.
“We did some care packages up for the Elders in community and some of the vulnerable families. We put it on the GIVIT platform, and a lovely lady posted around 20 separate little toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorants to put in those packages. It is such a good platform for caring and sharing.”
“We have some extra things that we are about to donate and give back. It is what our culture is really about, sharing and caring.”
COOEE was able to connect with GIVIT through their Indigenous Engagement Officer, Temiah Henaway.
“Temiah is our contact person and she is so helpful and so lovely. It is so good to work with organisations like that … they will do their best to accommodate the needs [of] people who are vulnerable,” Kennedy said.
Henaway joined GIVIT in January, coming from a background of health, and supports GIVIT in their National Indigenous Support Program in Queensland.
Henaway and Kennedy built a strong relationship between COOEE and GIVIT.
“They are helping mob and those families that are in need and doing it tough; and those kids. Those kids are our future and education is so vital in creating a better future for families and for breaking those bad cycles in families,” Henaway said.
“The work that [COOEE] is doing and how much they put their heart into their work, like Aunty Margie, [she] is just the most amazing lady. She puts everything into her work.
“It is why I, and everyone at GIVIT, do our job. Knowing you are making a difference in people’s lives who are needing that assistance, even though we may not work directly with recipients, we are doing good things and as is the rest of Australia who are donating.”
Henaway encourages those doing it tough and needing support, particularly in the face of COVID-19, to reach out to GIVIT.
“GIVIT is an online charity, everything goes through our website. Charities on there can register. But word of mouth is also massive, especially with our communities … I can meet someone on one side of town and they’ve already heard about me from someone from the other side of town. It is our own networks as well,” she said.
“It’s just important that we are supporting each other, particularly during these times as well. GIVIT is here to support you all in whatever way we can and to support the different mobs and community to get through everything.”
For more information on GIVIT and what they do, visit: http://www.givit.org.au.
By Rachael Knowles