Hope Association offers help to families also during COVID-19

2.6.2020 11:56
Nainen ja mies nostavat lapsen käsistä ilmaan.

The COVID-19 crisis has put Hope Association’s usual operations on hold, but the will to help people remained. New ways to help were quickly discovered. Life goes on normally, with the parents working and the kids in school. Suddenly, the country is struck by pandemic. One of the parents is laid off, the other loses their job and the children must go to school remotely from home. The family’s income plummets while spending on groceries skyrockets as children do not necessarily have access school meals and subsidised workplace lunches are no longer available.

Food gift cards, not material goods

Unfortunately, the above situation is all too familiar from the past spring. Hope set out to discover ways how the association could help families in such a predicament. Normally, Hope helps families with donations of clothes and material goods and by offering opportunities for shared hobbies. Now, lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19 have put a stop to these activities and closed down premises. As the need for assistance is in no way lessened, however, the association developed a new way to help families: food aid has been easy to organise through the use of food gift cards.

– It would be great if organisations like ours were not needed and people could get by without queueing for free food or other means of assistance. At the moment, however, that does not seem realistic, says Nora Virtanen, Operations Manager at Hope.  

The food gift card is a easy to deliver to families without the need for social contact. With the gift card, families in need can purchase essential food and hygiene products. The help provided by Hope to families rests entirely on outside donors.

We stay in contact with families in need but without donors, there is little we can do to help, says Nora Virtanen.

Ready for normal life

Hope is prepared for the fact that families may have a greater need for assistance this year than normally. At this point, it is already known that the COVID-19 pandemic will weaken the livelihoods of countless families for a long time.

– The most moving part is hearing children ask for basic necessities that should always be in order. Children ask us for things like new shoes or pairs of underwear to replace broken ones. Children should not have to think about such things, says Virtanen.

When, at some point, the daily rhythm of life returns to normal, more families than before will need support to ensure that their kids have access to hobbies, for example. For this reason, targeted donations to pay for the hobbies of children and young people in families that lack means or have suffered from the pandemic are invaluable already now, even as recreational facilities are still limitedly open..

Interested in volunteering?

Even as the number of those in need of help has grown during the COVID-19 crisis, so has interest in charity work.

– We have been contacted by people interested in volunteering but for the time being, we cannot take new people on board precisely because of the pandemic, says Nora Virtanen.

In the future, volunteers will be warmly welcomed. In addition to Nora, Hope employs only the association’s director of operations. The remaining 800 people in 20 locations across Finland are all volunteers. Hope accepts undamaged, clean and relatively contemporary clothes, items and hobby equipment. Most volunteers work in going through donated clothes and items and shelving them for distribution. The volunteers also book the appointments for families to come in and choose the items they need.

Read more at https://hopeyhdistys.fi/

Hope ry

  • operating since 2009
  • involved in donations of goods and clothing, supporting hobby activities and providing free-time experiences for families
  • operates in 20 localities
  • 730 volunteers
  • in 2019, nearly 9,000 families were reached through relief work
  • in 2019, the association spent 5.7 million euros as aid to children and families

Tamro is doing its part

In May, Tamro donated 10,000 euros in food gift cards through Hope Association to families in the Helsinki region and Tampere. Tamro’s employees have also had the opportunity to participate in assisting families with a sum of their choosing. The donation was not a one-off effort, as the cooperation launched in the spring between Tamro and Hope is intended to last longer than just one year.