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Salesforce Donation Helping People Doing It Tough After Floods

Tech platform lending a hand to flood-affected communities

Engagement Officer Kirsty Bender with aid workers from Red Cross and Hawkesbury Helping HandsIt's been just over a year since storms and widespread flooding affected large parts of New South Wales in March 2021. Many regions were also impacted by bushfires and drought prior to the floods, and recovery has been further complicated by the effects of COVID-19.

Technology company Salesforce generously supported GIVIT's 2021 Severe Storms & Floods Appeal to allow us to quickly respond to urgent requests from support organisations across the state.


Some towns on New South Wales' Mid North Coast are at breaking point, with compounding natural disasters and COVID-19-related tourism and job losses taking their toll. Caron Watkins from Manning Valley Neighbourhood Services said financial hardship is affecting many throughout the region. "We are dealing with a large group of people that have been displaced for some time, and have nowhere to go. Rental affordability and the availability of suitable housing means many people are sleeping rough. The wet season is also making life difficult for these people, so we've been needing lots of essential items to get them through this period."

Salesforce's generosity has allowed GIVIT to work with local support organisation such as Biripi Aboriginal Corporation Medical Centre in Purfleet.

Biripi ACMC has been supporting many local residents experiencing homelessness, including a family of four who had been sleeping rough for eight months, sleeping on a concrete slab with no access to amenities, and walking four kilometres to access fresh water. Salesforce's donation meant GIVIT could provide immediate relief, and set them up with exactly what they need to add a little comfort into their lives.

With the tumultuous 12 months we've had, it's easy at times to forget the widespread devastation caused by the floods in March 2021. As the photos and stories drifted out of national media, communities began their real journey to recovery.

Because of Salesforce's support, GIVIT can purchase items for families who are still in the process of rebuilding their lives - things like fresh carpet for a house riddled with mould, a new water tank for a couple with no clean drinking water, and school supplies for kids to start the new year feeling comfortable. These items have reassured people who are struggling that they haven't been forgotten.


Donation helping communities get back on track

A staff member from Step By Step Recovery Agency with Coles vouchersKempsey is still recovering from damage sustained in the floods in March 2021, and in October 2021 was in the midst of a significant spike in COVID-19 cases. The outbreak was particularly affecting the local First Nations community, prompting NSW Health to set up a quarantine facility at Kempsey Showgrounds using motorhomes.

With Salesforce's donation, GIVIT purchased groceries and mattresses to give residents some comfort and support as they isolated. These donations came as a welcome relief to families impacted by the compounding effects of multiple natural disasters as well as the pandemic.

In nearby Nambucca, GIVIT worked with both support organisations and the local council to help a number of residents, including a local farmer undergoing cancer treatment and struggling financially. Despite losing cattle, and experiencing more than $35,000 worth of damage to his property, the man was ineligible for the disaster recovery grant, as less than 50% of his income came from primary production on his property, which was also impacted by the Black Summer Bushfires.

Salesforce and GIVIT provided hardware vouchers to buy building supplies to repair the property. We were also able to help with grocery and fuel vouchers. These vouchers were all purchased from local suppliers in line with GIVIT's buy local ethos to support local economic recovery.

Another Nambucca resident whose home was severely impacted was struggling with the task of cleaning up home. The lady is a widow who suffers from anxiety, and the monumental task was taking its toll on her mental health. GIVIT and Salesforce were able to cover the cost of a removalist to collect and discard of mould-affected items so she could start clean up and repairs. 

Back to school support

Salesforce's donation has allowed GIVIT's support of people impacted by the 2021 floods to continue into 2022, enabling us to offer consistent support to those affected. In the Hawkesbury, Peppercorn Services Inc. has been helping locals impacted by the floods, as well as bushfires, storms, and financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. 

Peppercorn has been supporting *Lucy (name changed for privacy), a single mum of two daughters struggling financially due to COVID-19 induced job loss. Lucy also lost property during the floods. Lucy's youngest daughter, six, has been suffering from anxiety and loss of sleep due to past trauma. 

With Salesforce's help, GIVIT was able to cover the cost of Lucy's daughter's back-to-school costs for the new school year. Lucy was grateful and excited on hearing news of the donation, saying uniform shopping with her daughter "is the first girly thing we have been able to do since lockdown." The Peppercorn support worker spoke to Lucy on her daughter's first day of school. Lucy was so grateful for the joy the donation had brought her daughter, and that she could head to school with clothes and items of her own that she felt comfortable in. 

Stepping up in times of need

The complexity of natural disaster response and recovery means donations of cash are often more efficient and impactful than donations of items.

The incredible generosity shown by Salesforce has allowed GIVIT to adapt to rapidly changing requirements. This flexibility means we can cover the cost of items, vouchers or services exactly when they're needed, and assist people doing it tough in a way that's dignified, private and safe.

For people rebuilding their lives, the recovery is ongoing. You can see what's needed by organisations supporting people impacted by the 2021 floods in New South Wales here.

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