Reflections from the frontline: Volunteering with JRS Australia

21 May 2021

JRS at Palm Sunday

The following is a reflection from our wonderful volunteer Roe about the reasons she chose to join JRS Australia, and her experience with the organisation. 

My name is Roe and with my partner, Colin, we live in Sydney.

We began volunteering for JRS Australia in 2020 as part of their COVID-19 response and call-out for volunteers.

We deliver food to the homes of people seeking asylum and refugees once a week, although sometimes twice weekly as the need has dramatically increased with clients growing from 300 to 1,000 over the past ten months.

As well as food, we also deliver nappies, toiletries and over winter, warm blankets and sometimes clothing.

We decided to volunteer with JRS because we were greatly concerned about the situation of refugees and people seeking asylum and the unfair way that the Australian Government has treated them, especially during the pandemic.

Of those who had permission to work, many have lost their jobs and along with those without permission, are not eligible for any financial support payments e.g. JobSeeker or JobKeeper because they are on temporary visas.

This is an appalling situation and as a result, many people, including hundreds of children, are in a dire situation often living in substandard, often overcrowded accommodation, without sufficient food and medical support. We have watched people becoming more depressed and losing hope.

We feel that by volunteering with JRS Australia, that as well as providing practical support, we are helping to show people seeking asylum and refugees that someone does care about them; that they are valued human beings who should be treated with respect, dignity and that their lives matter.

You can learn more about volunteering with JRS Australia here.

Photo: Colin and Roe (second and third from left) at the Palm Sunday Rally 2021