Order of Malta Volunteers supporting the homeless during COVID-19
Order of Malta volunteer and registered nurse at St Vincent’s hospital Jacob Burman providing hygienic supplies to the homeless in Martin Place Photo: Patrick J Lee
The Order of Malta, are providing much needed support to Sydney’s homeless.
Dozens of volunteers from the charity organisation, the Order of Malta, are providing much needed support to Sydney’s homeless during the COVID-19 crisis, handing out masks, hygiene items and bottled water to help them through tough times.
The Order of Malta has served the poor and the sick for over 900 years and was responsible for setting up hospitals for pilgrims in the Holy Land at that time.
The Order was established in Australia in 1974 and its charitable work includes palliative care support and medical facilities as well as outreach to the homeless.
“We are desperate for more volunteers,” said Order of Malta Volunteers NSW regional coordinator and knight Dalton Fogarty to The Catholic Weekly during the street patrol.
“Even if you only have an hour each month you can still do some great work.”
The Order has established a volunteer partnership with the University of Notre Dame Australia’s School of Nursing and St Vincent’s hospital, allowing student and practising nurses to come forward and support the homeless of inner Sydney.
The volunteers currently cover Martin Place and Hyde Park, Central Station and the inner suburb of Pyrmont, helping an estimated 200 homeless people each week.
“We are hoping to look for partnerships with universities”
Volunteer and Order of Malta Knight, Dunstan De Souza said every homeless person is unique, each with a personal story to share.
“Everyone is different. Some people need a bottle of water, some people need a coat, some want to be left alone and some people just need someone to talk to.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, volunteer Dalton Fogarty has high hopes for the future of the Order of Malta – including stronger collaboration with Catholic youth groups.
“COVID has hurt us a fair bit in terms of where we can congregate but at this point really we are still searching for a permanent home,” said Dalton.
“We are hoping to look for partnerships with universities, chaplaincies and other Catholic youth groups for opportunities to reach out and make a difference.
“If you are a University and want to get involved do contact us, we would love to chat”
“We have some really great projects that are national and international in scope including a hospital clinic in Timor-Leste.”