Congratulations Erika! A Melbourne Awards Community Champion finalist.
A standing ovation for Erika Lodge on being selected as a finalist in the Community Champion category of the City of Melbourne, Melbourne Awards.
Erika has lived in Unison’s Kensington community for 12 years and is a volunteer extraordinaire! She knows many of the vulnerable members in her community and regularly checks in on people to make sure they are ok.
She is a friend, and leader of health and wellbeing programs providing healthy meals and social engagement activities through her involvement in Kensington’s 78 Seniors Club, the Hotham Food Bank and the Ozanam Community Centre, where she has helped with breakfast and lunch for people who are homeless.
Due to COVID-19 most activities stopped, but Erika has found another way to help her community.
“Most residents have been apprehensive about going out and are happy to see me each week. The program provides connection with people which is really important as they know they haven’t been forgotten,” said Erika.
Surplus food from local markets, stores and charities is sourced and Erika cooks up large pots of soup which she safely delivers to people’s homes. Erika has also linked in with local services and networks and received fresh bread, pre-packed meals and hampers, which she also delivers.
Erika’s meals and social connection program during the year, along with spades of energy and kindness, has benefitted the health and wellbeing of her neighbours; older adults living in Kensington public housing units.
Many suffer poor health and social isolation often compounded by lack of life skills, mobility and language barriers. In 2020, this cohort have also lived with heightened isolation, loneliness and fear.
“Erika is a kind and trusted neighbour and being recognised as a Melbourne Award finalist is so well deserved.” said Deb Wilson, Unison’s Community Engagement - Place Manager.
You can discover Melbourne’s most inspirational community heroes in the 2020 Melbourne Awards which will be televised on Channel 9 at 2pm, Saturday 21 November.
The award winners will be announced late this month, but as far as we are concerned, you are already a winner Erika.