Local help at hand for coronavirus hardship

PIC: Supplied. Alcoa Australia President Michael Gollschewki, Murray House Resource Centre Manager Elaine Edwards, Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson, Shire of Murray President David Bolt, Foodbank WA CEO Greg Hebble.

A major COVID-19 community support project involving Alcoa, Anglicare WA and Foodbank WA has been announced.

A purpose-built, locally targeted campaign to help people across a number of communities in the south west of the State deal with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has been launched.

Alcoa is partnering respected charities Foodbank WA and Anglicare WA to deliver the support near where the resources company operates its two bauxite mines and three alumina refineries. The support will be provided in local government areas of Kwinana, Murray and Waroona as well as parts of the shires of Harvey and Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

Through its global charity the Alcoa Foundation, Alcoa will provide more than $420,000 over the next 12 months to ensure local people have food on their table as well as access to important support services for things like mental health, accommodation, dealing with domestic violence, and financial and family counselling.

Alcoa Australia President Michael Gollschewski said while the immediate health impacts associated with the pandemic were starting to ease, the economic and social ramifications would linger.

“We’ve heard from local groups and leaders that people across our host communities are hurting and will be some for time,” Michael said. “Many have never had to ask for help before. We want to ensure that the specific support needed in each of these communities is available locally and can be accessed easily without delays or difficulties.”

Anglicare WA and Foodbank WA will partner with local organisations across these areas to understand need and deliver services and supplies most needed in each community.

Anglicare WA CEO Mark Glasson said COVID-19 had created a new level of hardship in the community and many people in need of help are unsure where to turn.

“As well as taking a financial toll, the crisis is affecting mental health and family relationships. We will work with these communities to ensure the support services we provide are tailored to their needs and made accessible to anyone who needs them,” Mr Glasson said.

Foodbank WA CEO Greg Hebble said hunger had been on the rise for some time.

“We know that there are growing number of people doing it particularly tough at the moment. We’re really excited to be collaborating with Alcoa, Anglicare WA and other local organisations to step up our emergency food relief efforts and provide essential food and groceries to those most in need,” Mr Hebble said.

Anyone needing help should call 1800 979 777 for support from Foodbank WA, and 1300 114 446 for Anglicare WA.

These projects have been made possible through Alcoa Foundation’s US$1 million pledge to help communities near where the company operates across the globe respond to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is in addition to the funds the foundation already provides each year for environmental and community projects. About $1.7 million (AUD) in foundation funding has already been committed to other WA-based projects in 2020.

Overall, Alcoa provides about $4.5 million for community programs and projects in Australia each year, the vast majority being focused on the south west of Western Australia.

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