Residents trapped inside Melbourne’s last public housing tower in hard lockdown amid rising COVID-19 cases have been scratching their heads over the latest care packages, presumably from the government, which included eye masks, seeds, socks and car air fresheners.
The block at 33 Alfred Street, North Melbourne is the last of nine public housing towers under a police-guarded lockdown ordered without notice on July 4 by Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews.
After six days of hard lockdown, North Melbourne, Flemington and Kensington public housing estate residents were allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons last Thursday, the same stage three rule in force throughout Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire.
The boxes, labelled for children as young as three and containing eye masks, seeds without potting mix, adult-sized socks, car air freshener and instructions for “fat burning” ab exercises, were dumped in the foyer of the tower but were not delivered upstairs to residents’ flats, said community volunteers.
Australian Muslim Social Services Agency (AMSSA) volunteer Sabrina Adem explained that a volunteer found the “abandoned” boxes and brought them to a North Melbourne community centre.
“It was horrendous what we found,” Adem said in an Instagram Live.
“There were driving instructions, no language translations, just in English. We found air freshener for the car.”
Although the packages did not make it into the 33 Alfred Street apartments, the volunteers believe the same boxes were delivered to the Flemington flats for those in quarantine at the weekend.
“These are generic items you would take if you were to catch a Qantas flight to Sydney,” volunteer and counsellor Tigist Kebede said in the same video.
“Three-year-olds had socks provided to them bigger than my feet,” Adem added.
What the video below.
After finding the airline-style packs, AMSSA recycled the boxes to divide toy hampers from community donations into age-appropriate collections of building blocks, sensory toys, games, books, crayons and puzzles.
“The original boxes would have ended up in the bin. And the boxes would have been a waste,” Adem said.
Volunteers said they believed the boxes were from the government because they were the same style of boxes previously delivered by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
The DHHS did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.