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Melbourne skyline help emojis
Photograph: Visit Victoria

How to help our mates across the border during the Melbourne lockdown

We’ve put together a list of where to donate and ways to help the wider community in Melbourne and Victoria right now

By Alannah Maher and Rebecca Russo
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Here in Sydney, we’re very fortunate. Public life has almost returned to normal as the government ordered lockdown measures that closed much of the city back in March continue to lift. However, across the border, Melbourne is facing a serious case of déjà vu. From Thursday, July 9, Victorians living within metropolitan Melbourne, plus those living in Mitchell Shire, are returning to lockdown conditions for at least six weeks.

If you want to know more, our Victorian counterparts have covered what you can and cannot do in Melbourne right now.

Sure, at Time Out Sydney headquarters, we don’t shy away from a bit of playful rivalry with the southeastern capital. But today our thoughts are with our colleagues and mates over in Melbs, as they wear their all-black outfits and sip on their lattes (which they will insist are better than any coffee you’ll get in Sydney, by virtue of being delivered from some dinky Fitzroy laneway or whatever).

A lot of people are wondering how they can help right now – help those at home without friends or family, or help those valiant health workers and frontline professionals who are risking everything to keep Victorians (and all Australians) safe.

We've collated some useful info on the ways Sydneysiders can show solidarity and support for Melbourne residents who are doing it tough right now. This is by no means an exhaustive list of ways to help, but it’s a start.

If you know of other ways to help out those in need, please email Time Out Sydney editor Maxim Boon: maxim.boon@timeout.com

Six ways to help Melbourne

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre at Foodbank
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre at Foodbank
Photograph: Supplied / Karen Quist

Donate to the ASRC

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is feeling the pinch after inconsiderate panic buying stripped Victorian supermarket shelves of necessities. For those people seeking asylum, who often have no income or government support, the ASRC is their only avenue to food, shelter and medical care. You can donate money now to the ASRC Emergency Cash Appeal to help out these struggling Melburnians. 

Collingwood housing estate
Collingwood housing estate
Photograph: David Jackmanson/Flickr

Help out families in hard lockdown

News City Life

On Saturday, July 4, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews announced a “hard lockdown” for five days on nine housing estates in the suburbs of Flemington and North Melbourne. The lockdown was immediate, meaning many families who reside in the towers didn’t have time to gather essential supplies for the following days. The Victorian government has begun distributing food, essential supplies and activity boxes but many Victorians are wondering how else we can support these families and individuals. Click through for some ideas.

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Exterior entrance at Neighbourhood Wine
Exterior entrance at Neighbourhood Wine
Photograph: Nathalie Saldumbide

Buy gift vouchers and merch from your favourite Melbourne haunts

Every Sydneysider who has popped across the border for a jaunt has raked up a running list of their favourite Melbourne restaurants, bars and cafés. You can support your faves by buying gift vouchers and merchandise.

When you purchase a gift voucher, the money goes directly to the restaurant right now, which means the venue can keep the doors open another day. Gift vouchers generally don't expire for at least 12 months, so you will be able to claim your meal back some time after the borders re-open.

Does your favourite restaurant sell a branded tote bag, T-shirt or any other sweet merch you've been eyeing off? Buy it. If your local is technology savvy, it probably has an online store to back it up. Every dollar will help keep the lights on.

Time Out Love Local
Time Out Love Local
Image: Time Out

Donate to Support Act

As part of Time Out Australia's Love Local campaign, we’re lending our voice to campaigns that support the city. Support Act is an Australian charity that has been providing crisis relief services to artists, crew and music workers for over 20 years. Thousands of arts workers have been ineligible for the government’s JobKeeper scheme because of the contract nature of their work. Click through for more detail. 

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Products from Spend With Them
Products from Spend With Them
Photograph: Instagram/@SpendWithThem

Spend with these covid-affected businesses

Spend With Them was an initiative set up during the bushfire crisis in order to provide sustainable support for affected communities. The SWT team has since decided to help profile small businesses also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Products profiled range from jewellery and fashion, to wine, produce and accommodation options.

Person stacking shelves with cans
Person stacking shelves with cans
Photograph: iStock

Donate money to Foodbank

Foodbank is the country's largest food relief organisation. As well as providing support to the thousands of Australians that experienced hardships following the summer bushfires, Foodbank now has a new initiative. Initiated by the Victorian government and distributed by the Red Cross, Foodbank will be sending emergency relief packages containing food and essential grocery items to Victorians in mandatory isolation. 

These packages are only part of the work that Foodbank does, as they still provide essential food and grocery items to those in crisis all over Victoria. Foodbank is unable to open its doors to accept public food donations at this time, but you can donate money. Every $1 donation allows them to provide two meals to someone in need. Make an online donation here

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