In early 2020, when members of the Zonta Club of Bendigo became aware that having counseling sessions with homeless women and their children would go a long way in benefiting victims of COVID-19. The club partnered with Loddon Mallee's Homeless Network. Sets of Multi-cultural dolls that have been shown to reduce the impact of childhood trauma during counseling sessions were purchased.
Also, with the effect of the lock down and COVID-19 rampaging the community, members immediately stepped in to assist those who needed food, especially those experiencing homelessness and family violence. The club responded to the situation by donating $2500 to the local Food bank, with the primary aim of supporting women and children.
Also because of the lock down, the number of women seeking support for family violence increased and many of these women reluctantly had to leave their homes. The club provided them with emergency accommodation while also donating $4000 to the Centre for Non-Violence to assist these women. The funds were used to purchase Essentials Gift Cards that can be used for groceries, fuel, and necessary items for survival.
As a club, the Zonta Club of Bendigo has had a long-standing service project where toiletry bags are donated to services supporting women who are victims of violence. This year alone, the club has supplied over 250 bags to organizations like Annie North Women’s Refuge and the Centre for Non-Violence.
Also, older women experiencing homelessness got support through the clubs initial donation to Haven Home Safe, an organization that distributes shampoos, cut, and dry to the homeless women.
In terms of healthcare, the club partnered with Bendigo Health and with the support from the Zonta International Headquarters, over 150 tote bags containing overnight toiletries were given out to staff and patients of Bendigo Health.
In total, since the beginning of the year, the Zonta Club of Bendigo has provided donations to the value of almost $14,000 as well as many toiletries to those members of their community who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.