Moree Salvos’ Red Shield Appeal goes digital for 2020

SHAKING the bucket and door-knocking is out, thanks to COVID-19.

A global pandemic, however, hasn’t stopped the Salvation Army in Moree and across the region from raising much-needed funds that will be used to help so many people in so many different ways.

The Salvation Army is one of Australia’s most respected organisations, and its biggest fundraiser, the Red Shield Appeal, traditionally gets underway this month.

But Moree Salvation Army program manager Jason Poutawa says things will be a little different this year, with the Salvos turning to online resources to generate donations for the annual fundraiser.

“We have had to re-focus our attention to organise the appeal online during COVID 19,” Mr Poutawa said.

“The usual static collection points, like ‘shaking the bucket’ and door-knocking methods that the Salvos have used to raise money for the Red Shield Appeal, have been abandoned this year due to COVID-19.

“Instead, we’re trying a digital platform to fundraise. It is new to us and the most important thing is, the money raised stays in the Moree community,” he said.

Moree Salvation Army program manager Jason Poutawa says its all systems go for Moree and this this month’s Red Shiled Appeal (Image: Bill Poulos).

An online platform, dedicated to donations made directly to the Salvation Army in Moree, has been created, with a $5000 target in place.

Other centres across the region also have towncentric platforms.

Funds raised will be used to support numerous objectives, including school engagement programs, holiday programs and camps, children and youth outreach programs, youth mentoring and leadership, playgroups and welfare and financial assistance.

“We rely significantly on our social enterprises such as the Family Store and jumping castle hire and, equally important, is the generous financial support from our community to assist people in need,” Mr Poutawa said.

Mr Poutawa and his wife Jessica, a fellow Salvation Army Officer, have worked and lived in the Moree community for the past three years after relocating from Sydney.

With the help of a dedicated support team, they have assisted families and individuals as well as assisting drought-affected farmers across the region.

Their aim is to help Moree residents in need.

However, the onset of COVID-19 has created great uncertainty and restricted the Salvation Army’s traditional, hands-on approach.

“The virus has limited a number of group programs, community outreach programs and our social enterprise for the last eight weeks,” Mr Poutawa said.

“We have continued to provide emergency relief as well as access to no-interest loans and electricity assistance.

“We have also adapted to the changing environment of restrictions to make significant one-on-one casework and pastoral support,” he said.

The COVID-19 health crisis is having a devastating effect on all Australians – but for some, the impact is far, far worse.

Financial hardship, isolation and domestic violence cases are increasing at alarming levels, and the Salvation Army is there for people who desperately need assistance.

“This is why this year’s online Red Shield Appeal is so vital,” Mr Poutawa said.

All money raised in Moree stays in Moree and online donations can be made here:

Words and Image: Bill Poulos