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8 Ways to Volunteer & Give Back in Melbourne

Whether you are wanting to donate your time, money or goods, here are the ways you can give back in Melbourne.

Wanting to give back to the community, but unsure of where to start? Well look no further because we’ve got some great ways you can help, no experience or special skills required. Whether you’re stuck at home or able to go out, can only spare an hour or can spare hours every week, there’s a cause out there that would love your help.

Connor's Run
Connor's Run
Get Involved in Connor’s Run

Back again after a bumper 2020, Connor’s Run is the main fundraising event for the Robert Connor Dawes (RCD) Foundation, founded in 2013 in loving memory of its namesake, which supports brain projects in the areas of research, care and development, funding the science to end brain cancer and support patients, through a fun run.

Connor's Run has adapted with the unprecedented times as you can register for ‘Your Run Your Way, Any Day’ for the whole month of September, and get involved in the fun run anywhere in the world, or you can purchase a ticket for the traditional Connor’s Run fun run event, Bayside to the Boatsheds in Melbourne on Sunday 12th September.

The Connor’s Run event spans 18.8km from Hampton Beach to Alexandra Gardens – the same track Connor once ran in preparation for a rowing season and coincidentally, the length of his life. The second run length is 9.6km, from Catani Gardens St Kilda to Alexandra Gardens, representing Connor’s birthday, 9 June.

Whether you join in on the 12th September, or create your own vibe, run, walk, roll, hop, skip, jump or dance as much as you want during the month of September, you will be helping bring awareness to paediatric brain cancer and help raise funds for the RCD Foundation.

Connor’s Run: Sunday 12th September

Adult $60, Youth $40

‘You Way Any Day’: All September

Adult $75, Youth $55

Write Letters to Aged Care Residents

During Victoria’s lockdown periods, many aged care residents missed the interaction that came from visitors and volunteers. One easy yet high impact way that people helped from afar was by writing letters to residents and encouraging their kids, neighbours and family members to as well. Letters are a great way for residents to feel connected to the broader community, and be reminded that everyone is thinking of them. It might even be the start of a brilliant new pen friendship! See these links for an idea of where to start.

Become a Mentor With Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES)

When you volunteer with AMES, you’ll be helping newly arrived migrants and refugees settle into life in Victoria. Whether it’s by teaching English, providing career mentorship, assisting with bills and public transport or connecting them with community and social groups, you’ll be making a huge difference in their settlement success. It’s an immensely productive and gratifying way of spending your time and who knows – you might even make a friend for life.

Share Groceries With Your Local Pantry

Got surplus groceries? Share the love with your neighbourhood by donating both perishable and non-perishables (e.g. tinned food, dried pasta) to your local pantry. If you haven’t seen one before, these take the form of shelves or cupboards located in a public place, filled with donated goods. They operate on a good will, take-what-you-need basis and can be a big help for those experiencing food insecurity. Examples include the Annie Borat community cupboard in Brunswick and Reservoir community pantry, but do a quick Google search and you’ll find one near you.

Offer Help to Your Neighbours

Want to put out an open offer of help to your neighbours but don’t know them well? You could try slipping a small note introducing yourself and what you can help with (groceries, a lift to the doctors) if they ever need it, alongside your contact details. Alternatively, post something similar in your local community Facebook group or noticeboard, or try purpose-driven apps like Caremonger and Angel Next Door which connect kind strangers with those asking for help.

Donate to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

ASRC supports refugees and asylum seekers, who often have no income or government support and are reliant on organisations like theirs for food, shelter and medical care. Help them do their great work by donating money, food and material goods, or employ them for your next big catering or cleaning job. In this way, ASRC can train and create job opportunities for people seeking asylum, helping them gain confidence, Australian work experience and financial independence.

St Kilda Mums
St Kilda Mums
Donate & Volunteer With St Kilda Mums

St Kilda Mums is a wonderful charity that envisions a future where we share more, waste less and care for every child. They work specifically to rehome quality nursery and baby items, bundling them into packages for new mums who need them the most. Aside from donating your own pre-loved items, SKM needs volunteers to help with every aspect of their operation, from accepting, sorting, cleaning, processing, packing and safety checking these items, to administrative and IT tasks.

Give Blood

Blood donations are greatly needed at all times of the year, but particularly during a lockdown, when the Red Cross reports a sharp dip in donation rates. Unfortunately, blood can’t be stockpiled, and fresh blood and plasma products are needed every day to support cancer patients, new mums and babies, people with immune deficiencies or blood diseases, and people who need surgery. Blood donation is considered an essential health service that is quick, easy and safe – all those snacks at the end don’t hurt either.

Hold a Food Drive for Foodbank

Another way to aid hunger is by holding a food drive in support of Foodbank, Australia’s largest food relief organisation. Each year they distribute tens of millions of meals across the country and there are a myriad of ways you can help. Monetary donations are always needed, with every $1 raised providing two meals to someone in need, or you can rally your family and friends to collect goods for their Yarraville warehouse – canned food, long life milk and juice, coffee and tea, bikkies and toiletries are always in demand.

Support local businesses by ordering delicious takeaway meals from your favourite restaurants, sweet treats delivered to your door, or grocery boxes that save you going to the supermarket. Need a drink? You can get that delivered, too.