As a charity today would have to be one of the hardest days we have ever witnessed. We loaded up the Outlander with nappies, formula, pads, tampons and other essentials and took them to the Melbourne towers for our first load to assist those in full lockdown.
As we took the items in we saw many people in incredibly distressed states. One woman sat on the steps of her building crying hard and pleading to be let out. With tears running down her face she begged the 12 or so officers in front for her freedom.
The police officers were polite and kind, they treated her respectfully but they still had the job of telling her she wasn’t allowed to leave. We saw respect and calm from the officers but they’re not social workers and they’re not counsellors. They’re not trained to deal with the prolonged distressed state of the tower residents.
We were instructed where to take the donations so we headed over to the Mt Alexander road side of the complex where the community centre sits. It was shift change time for the officers so a change meeting was held before we could take the items in. We stood back so as not to get in the way.
No one really seemed to know what to do. The coordination of donations was haphazard, with boxes of different foods and other items lining the pathways outside the towers, but set aside like forbidden fruit. Possibly quite literally.
The doors of the community centre opened and we were welcomed to see the chaos inside. It was organised chaos, but chaos nonetheless.
Everyone is doing their best and they’re doing a great job given the circumstances but with no planning to organise the necessary logistics of a lockdown so large there was very little order to be seen.
Residents are not allowed to leave their units to visit the community centre. We were not given any information as to how the donated items will be handed to the those locked in the towers. We can only hope the process will be hassle free and that those in need will be helped immediately.
These are incredibly difficult times. The pain we saw from the residents locked in was distressing and heartbreaking to witness. I can only begin to imagine what it is they’re feeling.
Thank you so much to everyone who is helping in any way. What a beautiful city we live in that we can rally to help so many people in need.
As sad as it is to watch our city and her people suffer, seeing the outpouring of love and support makes me so proud to say that I live here.