As the holiday season approaches, most Australian households are starting to plan Christmas Day menus and consider the presents for their loved ones. However, thousands of north coast families are stressing about putting food on the table, and paying essential bills such as rent and electricity.
In fact for many people Christmas isn’t even a true holiday, as a large number are un- or under-employed, or working casual jobs that don’t offer leave loading or penalty rates.
With these problems in mind, St Vincent de Paul Society (SVDPS) has launched its annual Vinnies Christmas Appeal aimed at helping all families to have a secure and enjoyable Christmas with their children, relatives and friends.
‘Here on the north coast we live in a beautiful place, yet more than 80,000 people are experiencing poverty, and a further 38,500 are at risk of it,’ said SVDPS North Coast president Yvonne Wynen.
‘Even for many people with jobs, financial hardship can be just a few pay cheques away. If they do fall into poverty they face a real risk of becoming homeless.’
Ms Wynen added: ‘Around one in four people coming to the Society for help with food vouchers or assistance with utility bills is believed to be homeless. This situation is especially tragic for children, many of whom are at serious risk of abuse because of their vulnerable circumstances.’
SVDPS NSW CEO Jack de Groot said the Vinnies Christmas Appeal helps people at a time when they feel most vulnerable and isolated.
‘We want to make sure that thousands of Australian families who are struggling to make ends meet can enjoy a home-cooked Christmas meal and can give their children a gift. We cannot do this without the generous support of our donors across the state,’ he said.
Money donated to Vinnies Christmas Appeal on the north coast will be used to help local families. Donations are tax deductible and can be made at any of the 27 Vinnies shops between Tweed Heads and Port Macquarie-Hastings, or by calling the Lismore office on 6621 5835.