By Danielle Kutchel
Solange Ardiles can’t quite explain where her drive and passion for helping others comes from.
She was raised in what she describes as a “solid family unit” which emigrated to Australia from Chile when she was two years old and received a good education, to the point where she now feels like she can give back to those in need.
“When I do see people not given the same opportunities, I think, ‘what can I do to help those people out?’” she explains.
“I feel like I’m in a privileged condition to give help to those who need it.”
Based in Noble Park, she’s now the Victoria manager of national online charity Givit.
Givit connects charities with donated goods and services via an innovative virtual warehouse – cutting down on waste and reducing the usual time-consuming storage and sorting of donations that charities often have to wade through.
Donating and receiving items through Givit is free, but participants must register for the service.
Residents in need are referred to the service via case managers, schools and social workers, however a new system being launched soon will see the website able to direct people to registered charities nearby to ask for assistance.
The process makes it easier for both donors and charities: donors can navigate through Givit’s system and work out what goods are needed, then donate directly to that need, while charities and community groups can reserve items on the platform for those they help.
Currently, Givit is being inundated with donations from people doing the Covid cleanout – and now the organisation is calling on more charities and community groups to register to receive items.
Previously they have worked with Dandenong-based organisations Wellsprings and Cornerstone, but there is always room for more.
Likewise, Ms Ardiles is asking donors to think outside the box about what they are able to donate.
“We make assumptions about what people might need with Covid-19, but it’s really just the basics.
“There are still people who will find it hard to get back to work, so maybe your old work pants or steel-capped boots,” she says.
“A lot of people over-shopped during Covid-19 as well, so if you’ve found yourself with extra non-perishable items, you can pledge those to us.”
In addition, Givit is the Victorian Government’s official bushfire charity donation partner, and since February 2020 has coordinated 1000’s of items as part of their ‘VIC Fires Appeal’.
If people don’t have items to donate, they are welcome to donate cash instead – with 100 percent of funds donated to Givit used by charities on the ground.
Charities and donors interested in registering can visit the Givit website.