We have previously posted about the difficulties faced by refugees and asylum seekers through the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then there have been great efforts by Circles to assist the refugee community. A new Circle was set up which distributed food on a weekly basis for up to 60 family units. Another new Circle was established to seek employment for refugees who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic. COFA was faced with many requests for assistance to pay the rent for refugee families who had lost their income and so another Circle grew to pay rent. Other Circles kept on with their contact, supporting the refugees they knew.
It has all meant a huge demand on the resources of the Circles. As COFA has found in the past, when we are faced with a crisis, our donors and supporters have stepped up and provided us with all the resources we have needed. It is a remarkable situation for COFA to be in, to realise once again that we are blessed with very many generous people who want to support us in this critical work. Most touching for the Treasurer was to see the number of $750 donations which came into our bank account when those sums were given by the Federal Government to Pensioners and Social Security beneficiaries. These people on low incomes themselves indicated that they believed that refugees needed the government support more than they did.
We had very many churches who made large donations to COFA including one which has donated almost $20,000, another nearly $13,000. We have had five Trusts who have made grants of $32,000 between them and a Pharmacy donated $10,000. There have been so many donations from individuals of $1,000 and more, not to mention the hosts of donors who contribute regularly on say a weekly basis. It is quite overwhelming to be conscious of such generosity. COFA also received a grant of $10,000 from the State Government and more than $53,000 from the Federal Government through the auspices of the Australian Red Cross for food.
What it has also shown to us is that our model of being a community based organisation run entirely by volunteers with minimal administrative costs is attractive to individual donors, philanthropic organisations and even government agencies. In the eight years since COFA was formed, we have grown from a $30,000 per year small charity to a half million dollar mid-sized Australian charity.
There as many people in our Circles who have done so much to assist refugees and asylum seekers, giving of their time and energy so selflessly and we are so grateful to them. But they could only do this essential work with the encouragement and financial resources from all our donors and supporters. For all that effort and generosity, we are truly most humble and thankful to you all. You are amazing people, showing such concern for these people who have suffered so much in their past and presently experiencing such need. We thank you on their behalf and deep from our own hearts.