United Neighbours campaign reaches 30,000 Australians

A Melbourne man has arranged letter drops to more than 30,000 vulnerable people to check in on them during lockdown.

Sammy Swayn, a mindfulness and meditation teacher based in Melbourne, launched the #UnitedNeighbours campaign in the third week of March after lockdown was introduced.

It has since become a huge success, with thousands joining the call to help vulnerable people access groceries, medication or anything else they might need.

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Mr Swayn started a United Neighbours Community Facebook page to mobilise his community and organise the letter drops, and soon 1300 locals had joined his kindness army.

Using the Facebook page, the volunteers co-ordinate letter drops so they don’t double up and can help as many in need as possible.

The page is filled with hundreds of Google Maps screenshots, pictured below, showing where the letters have been delivered.

The letter Mr Swayn and others have been handing out en masse reads: “Dear Neighbour. Your friendly neighbour checking in.

“Are you an elder or a person with vulnerable health without enough support in this difficult time?

“Please reach out if you must stay indoors and don’t have access to the resources you need.

“If you require groceries, medications or need any urgent errands run, we will try to co-ordinate something for you, while keeping safety precautions in mind.

“No cost, just kindness.”

Phone numbers are then written on the back.

Members of the community have been heartened by the initiative. Some people have called the phone numbers just to express their gratitude, while others revealed that this wasn’t the first offer of help they had received from perfect strangers.

“This morning I received a cute phone call from a little old man saying how grateful he was to have received the letter in the mail,” one #UnitedNeighbour volunteer posted on Facebook.

“He said it was very ‘Australian’ and thought to call and say thank you. He doesn’t need any help at the moment but sends us all good karma.”

“I got the leaflet last week. I am fine, upbeat, but just wanted to drop a line to thank you for your kindness and generosity,” another volunteer shared on Facebook.

“In the current restrictions just seeing the leaflet & #UnitedNeighbours effort warms my heart … A couple of ladies with a lil girl & dog did do a door knock after lockdown was imposed offering assistance too.”

Those 30,000 letter drops required 30,000 pieces of paper, and printing costs can be high – so Mr Swayn has asked for support from local printing companies.

“United Neighbours was created with the intention of helping those in need in these difficult and uncertain times brought on by COVID-19,” Mr Swayn said on the United Neighbours Facebook page.

“For those that don’t have the support of loved ones, as friendly neighbours, we are here to lend a helping hand.

“We are stronger as a team,” he finished.

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