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The workers you don’t see who are keeping Melburnians safe and connected.

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Thanks to our brand partner, Amazon

While the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially challenging for Melburnians it has also highlighted how incredible their frontline workers are – Victorian doctors, nurses and other medical professionals, as well as many educators who are keeping the state healthy and safe during this pandemic.

But there are other workers deemed 'essential' who can't do their jobs from home, and they are often understatedly working to keep the engine of Melbourne and Victoria alive; providing support and assistance to a vast range of members of our community.

These people are making sure life can go on during the stage four lockdown, from ensuring the most vulnerable people are being fed and taken care of, to being there to help our pets, to fulfilling orders and deliveries so that we can stay safe at home and still have access to all the essentials we need.

It is time to celebrate them.

Melissa – Australian Red Cross volunteer

Melissa has been a Red Cross volunteer for more than 10 years - and her generosity has never been more needed than right now.

"I believe the lockdown and pandemic has had a very dramatic effect on all Melburnians, emotionally, financially, socially and mentally," Melissa tells Mamamia.

Melissa. Image: Supplied

 "I think people are feeling exhausted and sad that they are unable to go about their normal life routines. I feel that most people are trying to be kind to each other, positive and supportive, but this can be hard to maintain long term."

Despite the challenging time, Melissa has found that being able to fulfil her role as a Red Cross volunteer and providing essential support to those in need has been a great benefit both personally but also to members the Melbourne community.

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"I have been helping food parcel deliveries to local people in mandatory isolation, and do outreach calls to people who are isolated in lockdown. I am extremely proud we are able to do a lot of great things, we are able to make someone's worst day ever a little better and we are happy to listen to them whenever they need an ear. I feel very lucky to be able to contribute and be a part of an amazing organisation like Red Cross."

Nicolette – Learning trainer at Amazon

While many Melburnians have been working from home, Nicolette continues to work on location to help support the operations teams in fulfilling the influx of customer orders for Amazon.

Nicolette. Image: Supplied

 But her health and safety going into work has never been a concern. At Amazon, they have implemented more than 150 process changes since the start of the pandemic to keep their staff, and anyone receiving parcels from them, safe.

Precautions at the fulfilment centre where Nicolette works include "cleaning, supplying each staff member with their own supplies such as disinfectant, wipes, sanitiser, and masks," she tells us.

"But most importantly, we have our temperature checked before entering the facility, all while adhering with social distancing," she says.

Amazon's support of organisations such as the Red Cross and FoodBank, to help vulnerable communities and health workers on the frontline, is also something that employees like Nicolette take great pride in. Working together, they help to ensure that much-needed products, services, and educational support are received by the people who need them most.

"I feel blessed to be able to work through this pandemic but also have a sense of pride in being to fulfill the Amazon promise to deliver smiles every day," she adds.

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Amazon is also working with the community, agencies and local governments close to their fulfilment centres in Melbourne to support hundreds of local organisations as they care for the many vulnerable members within their communities, providing donations of food, hand sanitisers and clothing.

Leah – Vet nurse

Vet nurse Leah works in a Melbourne general practice catering for mostly small animals, from dogs and cats to guinea pigs and birds, and the occasional injured wildlife.

Leah. Image: Supplied

She says that since the beginning of COVID she thought the veterinary industry would slow down a bit, but instead, it has been the exact opposite. 

"We have been flat out since the first wave," Leah tells us. "I seem to be doing about 5kms of steps and activity. Some days I get home and can't move because I am so exhausted."

In order to keep safe, Leah says, "we have been trying to reduce is the amount of people that come into our clinic. All the staff are amazing with the hand hygiene. We have different sanitisers, hand soap and some nice hand towels and moisturiser for when your knuckles start cracking from washing your hands every 10 minutes".

Although it has been challenging both physically and mentally, Leah says providing her essential work has given her with a great sense of purpose.

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"I feel very proud to be a vet nurse during the pandemic," she says. "It has been nice to see the amount of people who love their pets and want the best care for them."

Ugur – Delivery driver

Ugur recently moved to Australia from Turkey, where she worked as a pharmacist. The mother of one is now earning extra money to help support her family by working as an Amazon Flex delivery partner - a service that allows drivers to use their own vehicles to get paid to deliver packages for Amazon.

"I feel happy and proud to be a part of this service," Ugur tells Mamamia. "I have enough time to spend with my family and do my hobbies and home duties."

Ugur. Image: Supplied

While she's out on the road delivering parcels to people's homes, it's important for Ugur to feel safe as she goes about her work.

"In this situation most of the people receive their needs via online services," she says. "And that's the safest way. I always wear a mask. I don't have any contact with the customers. For my safety and their safety."

There are many faces of essential workers behind the scenes, as well as those on the frontline, who are all working together to enable Melbourne and Victoria stay safe and connected in her hardest days. If that's one silver lining, we'll take it.

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If you'd like to help Red Cross continue its great work in the community the best way to get involved is to donate or register for upcoming volunteering opportunities via its website, redcross.org.au.
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