More Aussies than ever are needing help during the current cost of living crisis, with 3.3 million people living in poverty today. Volunteers are desperately needed across a variety of hardship relief organisations to support those seeking help.
There was a 7% increase in the amount of volunteer roles advertised on SEEK Volunteer last financial year, highlighting the increased demand for social services by our community. Much of this demand is due to rising costs and meeting this demand requires the help of volunteers.
If you are able to carve out some time for volunteering, there are a few key areas where volunteers are most needed.
Food insecurity is one of the most notable effects of challenging economic times. Ask Izzy, a website that connects people with charitable services, recently experienced its largest amount of monthly searches on record with 14% of these searches for food relief alone.
Some ways you can volunteer to support food security are -
- At a food bank, where your role could include picking up donations, sorting through them, or handing them out to people.
- At a kitchen, whether that’s prepping ingredients in the back or serving them up to visitors.
- In your community, such as by inviting someone over for a BBQ or morning tea if you notice they seem to be isolated or are not taking care of themselves.
From rising interest rates to skyrocketing rents, it’s becoming harder for many people to keep a roof over their head. Sydney alone has seen a 23% increase in homelessness in the past year – an indication of how challenging conditions are.
Some ways you can volunteer to help support the provision of housing to those in need are -
- At a homeless shelter, whether that’s getting the rooms ready or helping new residents settle in.
- Through an outreach organisation, which helps to connect people that are sleeping rough with services and shelter.
Self-care and necessities
The cost-of-living crisis is also having other, more subtle impacts on people’s lives, whether that’s cutting down on their hot showers or not replacing worn-out clothes and shoes.
Some ways to help with access to day-to-day essentials are:
- At an op shop, which people are now relying on more than ever.
- By knitting or crocheting beanies and blankets that can help keep people warm.
- Collecting donations from the community, such as clothes or personal care items.
- Volunteering at a laundry or shower van.
40% of Australians report feeling financial stress - the highest figure since the COVID-19 pandemic. With this stress comes a huge mental health toll.
To volunteer in the mental health field, try:
- Companion volunteering, where you’ll work to support or interact with vulnerable members of the community.
- Phone volunteering providing support to those who reach out for help or need a compassionate ear to talk to.
People experience hardship in different ways. If you’re able to help at this critical time, your volunteering efforts can make a world of difference to another person. Find your next volunteer opportunity by searching now.