Avtar Singh, left, and Gardarshan Singh, right, from the Khalsa Darbar Mickleham give out meals to those in need through Love in Action Wallan. The Sikh community volunteers are pictured with Susan Ann and Jeremy Scrivens, from Love in Action.

By Steph McNicol

CORONAVIRUS did everything except stop the work of Love in Action Wallan, a social movement, according to founding member Jeremy Scrivens.

The virus did present some challenges to the group, but they were quickly able to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances and ensure vulnerable community members had vital support.

Mr Scrivens said while the group were unable to partake in some of their usual support initiatives, which included assembling care hampers during Easter and collecting donations, they found other ways to assist people.

“Unfortunately we couldn’t do our Easter hampers or rely on our donation drop off points in the community,” Mr Scrivens said.

“We used to have about a dozen drop off points in the community including Bendigo Bank and Nexus, but because of social distancing we had to shut that down.

“We found other ways to engage with the community. For example, Barb Radford from the Broadford group did a lot of work on the Facebook page to provide support and ideas for looking after kids and how to keep them occupied.

“There is also a Sikh community in Mickleham who were delivering hot meals to people in the community who were in isolation or doing it tough, so we partnered with them to help offer their services.”

The Love in Action member said the group was slowly returning to action and its store at the Wallan Future Hub was looking at reopening in coming weeks.

“Now that people know we’re taking donations again, it’s like we’ve opened up floodgates,” Mr Scrivens laughed.

“As soon as we announced we’d be opening and asking for donations again, people have been putting their hands up and asking how they can help.

“What excites us is in the last three or four weeks, a significant number of donations have come in from people we’ve helped in the past, people who were homeless or didn’t have jobs or struggled with domestic violence.

“They’re the people now going to the shops, looking at what they can buy to give to others, ordinary people living their daily lives.”

Mr Scrivens said society often forgot there were struggling community members even in their own community.

“People sometimes aren’t aware of other things happening in the community. They don’t see the homelessness, they don’t see the domestic violence or mums struggling to look after their babies or buy them nappies,” he said.

“Because of this we thought there was an opportunity to engage the community. Anyone can be doing it tough, they can have nice homes on the outside but you find out hey’re just as much in need.

“We’re just looking to get as much support and community awareness as possible, we want people to look out for each other.”

Anyone who is looking to donate food or other necessities for vulnerable people in Wallan, can contact Love in Action on their Facebook page.