By Amanda Murthy and Eric Martin
Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB officially launched his 2020 Winter Appeal for LifeLink on 4 May, amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, reminding the faithful that although it would be easy to give up, the temptation to panic must not lead to an “abandonment of our Christian hope, and for our trusting faith” in the providence of God.
This year, more than ever, 34,000 Western Australian families and individuals will count on LifeLink agencies to provide support thanks to the generosity of the Perth community.
“While so much is changing around us at this time, one thing remains the same,” Archbishop Costelloe stated.
“God is with us, His mercy and compassion overshadow us, and His call for us to love one another as Jesus has loves us, still rings in our hearts.
“Knowing how you, your family and loved ones have and are being impacted, we must ask ourselves what life must be like for those who were already in desperate need prior to the outbreak of this virus – people living on the streets, struggling with drug or alcohol addictions, battling mental health issues, or in financial crisis,” he added.
Archbishop Costelloe noted that this could in fact be the perfect opportunity for the Catholic community to truly channel what it means to be disciples of Christ.
“We can do this through the collective support for the Church’s social service agencies supported through LifeLink,” Archbishop Costelloe added.
“On behalf of us all, the social service agencies of LifeLink continue in their mission of care, protecting the most vulnerable and showing compassion to those most in need in the community.”
With social distancing and public health guidelines in place, the Archdiocese of Perth’s Catholic caring agencies continue to provide important services to meet the demands and address the needs of the community.
The Shopfront has continued to provide food, emergency care, and support to the homeless and people in desperate need. Identitywa is still offering professional care and practical services for people with disability and their loved ones. Centrecare Inc has been doing all it can to meet the growing demand for counselling and other services from people facing addictions, domestic violence, or experiencing accommodation crises.
Emmaus Community founder Brother Al Archer’s vision to provide long-term accommodation for adults with mental health issues are currently on halt – with social distancing measures in place, the community is adjusting to new challenges.
“However, we still are able to give food to other organisations, it’s just that we use a different method – instead of people coming in, we leave goods at the door,” Br Al said.
Centacare Employment and Training continue to offer programmes, courses and support services specifically to disadvantaged members of the community who are looking to learn new skills.
Chief Executive Officer, Lee-Anne Phillips, said the global crisis had introduced a wave of digitalisation in the education sector and the organisation was forced to re-assess how it continued to deliver courses effectively while keeping its students engaged.
“Although this global crisis has affected the way we operate our business, it has also opened-up opportunities to discover new possibilities to do things differently,” Mrs Phillips said.
“Bringing digital platforms into our course delivery has proved highly successful and we will continue to learn and move forward.
“One of the challenges was that not all students would have access to a device or internet connectivity. As such, the transition to fully online learning was not going to work for everyone,” she added.
“To cater to every student, we offered flexible study options that are tailored to individual students’ needs.”
Daydawn Advocacy Centre Director Mark Reidy confirmed that the demand in the areas of indigenous housing – especially around temporary accommodation – have sky-rocketed during this time, resulting in volunteers working from home to aid clients.
“Yes, it really did get much busier during this time for our agency. We have three paid staff members and we’ve been working extra hours rather than less,” Mr Reidy said.
“Our volunteers are all working from home and we have kept them busy, feeding out letters and contact numbers to them to chase down on behalf of the people we assist.”
The Archbishop’s 2020 Winter Appeal for LifeLink was officially launched 4 May 2020.
To donate to LifeLink, go to www.lifelink.com.au
Read the Archbishop’s Letter by Clicking Here