Here’s How You Can Support The Charities Helping People Struggling Right Now

By Bridget O'Donohue
6th Apr 2020

As we saw during the devastating bushfires that hit rural Victoria earlier this year, Melbournians are willing to find all sorts of ways to dig deep during a crisis. The immediate impact of Covid-19 on charities and the most vulnerable is already clear, and many of the organisations that were helping rural communities will now need our generosity more than ever. We’ve put together a list of charities building safety nets on the front line, so you can donate or get involved if you’re in a position to do so. 


In regular circumstances, Lifeline is a vital source for those seeking crisis support and suicide prevention. During Covid-19, an increase in isolation and anxiety means the need for 24/7 access to crisis support is more crucial than ever. With text, phone and webchat available to those who need it when they need it, Lifeline needs ongoing donations to fund this network. Simply head to their website for a one-off donation or set up a regular payment. They are also still accepting expressions of interest for Telephone Crisis Support Volunteers, so get in touch with your local centre to find out more. 

Red Cross Lifeblood

As an essential health service, Red Cross Lifeblood are asking volunteers to keep their existing appointments and for new, healthy individuals to help meet the needs of blood donations over the coming months. Unsurprisingly, blood transfusions are and continue to be crucial to hospitals for patient treatment, and the Red Cross is taking extra steps to maintain safety while you donate. This includes 1.5m social distancing, additional sanitising, disinfecting and restriction of visitors. Please only keep your appointment if you’re feeling healthy and haven’t been overseas in the last month. 

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

As some of the most vulnerable members of our community, refugees and asylum seekers have the added disadvantage of having no access to Centrelink or Medicare. The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is providing a lifeline during the crisis by offering food, shelter and medical care to those who need it most. The ASRC is asking for urgent one-off donations to help fund these resources, but you can also set up a monthly subscription if you’d like to help long term. 

Lockdown Get Down

Party band The Cat Empire have launched Lockdown Get Down and the premise is simple. Whether you have a subscription or stream for free, they simply want you to get onto your music streaming service of choice and play your favourite artists non-stop. This initiative is a good option if you don’t have a lot of spare cash but are still keen to help out. You’ll keep revenue coming in for musicians who aren’t able to play live gigs or festivals whilst simultaneously lifting your mood. It’s a win-win. 


Yes, we know they’re not technically people, but furry friends still need your help. The RSPCA has said that now is the perfect time to find your pawfect companion (I’m not crying, you're crying). If you’ve been thinking about adopting for ages or are only able to foster while WFH, there are plenty of animals that need a cosy home. Head online to meet the dog, cat or guinea pig that could be your new flatmate. Do yourself a favour and start that adoption process today.

The Big Issue

If you work in the city or take the train to work, you’ll no doubt be familiar with your local Big Issue vendor. Identifiable by their hi-vis vests and friendly chat, these folk are usually homeless, marginalised or long-term unemployed. For obvious reasons vendors aren’t currently able to sell in the usual spot, so The Big Issue has introduced an online fortnightly version. Buy a digital mag for $9 and profits will still go directly to the vendors. If you’re worried about your local vendor, you can also send a message to them via and they’ll pass your email on. 

Safe Steps

With most Australians now spending the majority of time at home, not everyone is lucky enough to call that space a safe one. Among the many acts of kindness towards neighbours and loved ones, there are also increasing reports of domestic violence from frontline workers. Family violence charities are working hard to get the message out that ‘stay home’ does not apply if it is not safe to do so. Vulnerable families can still access emergency shelter and financial, medical and psychological support but organisations like Safe Steps require donations to meet these demands. Check out their website for the ways you can help. 

Food Bank

At the start of 2020, Food Bank was already working overtime to get meals to those in bushfire affected areas. Now with the arrival of Covid-19, there is the added list of the elderly, immune-compromised and disadvantaged who are finding it hard to access basic supermarket supplies. Unfortunately, Food Bank cannot currently accept food donations, but just $1 can provide two meals to someone who needs it. With your donations and delivery from Australian Red Cross, they are able to get vital resources to the isolated, who may not have the fortune of family and neighbours to rely on. 

Don't forget to wash your hands. Check out 10 distilleries making hand sanitiser here.

Image credit: Unsplash

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