Between the ongoing drought, rising energy costs, high rents and inadequate income support payments, this year has brought little relief for families living in poverty. Now thousands of parents are wondering how they’ll afford to feed their kids on Christmas Day, let alone put presents under the tree.
Vinnies has launched its annual Christmas Appeal to support the one in five Australian kids who go hungry each day, as well as their families.
“For thousands of families, Christmas isn’t a time of celebration but of hunger, hardship and stress,” said Jack de Groot, CEO of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW.
“That’s why we hold our annual Christmas Appeal to support people doing it tough in NSW. Thanks to the community’s generosity, we’ll be helping thousands of families struggling with poverty to put a special meal on the table for Christmas.
“Half the people who came to us this year needed help just to afford food. We aren’t talking about the trappings but just basic food to ensure they are not going hungry. This can often become worse at Christmas as other costs and expectations mount.”
A recent report from NCOSS found children under 15 experience the highest poverty rate of all age groups in NSW. Foodbank research has found a large number of children go hungry on any given day, and 11% of kids go to bed without dinner at least once a week.
“It’s a deeply distressing reality that children aren’t immune from the poverty crisis in our society,” Mr de Groot said.
“When kids grow up with hunger or a lack of healthy food, it affects their development and wellbeing in the long term. Vinnies helps children and their parents with food vouchers and hampers, clothing, support paying the bills, crisis accommodation, and other services.”
Vinnies is asking everyone who can afford to make a donation, big or small, to support the Christmas Appeal. Donations over $2 are tax-deductible.
“We are so grateful to the thousands of everyday people who give what they can to Vinnies so we can help those less fortunate. This is the true spirit of Christmas and shows what a caring, compassionate community we have,” Mr de Groot said.
Donations can be made at www.vinnies.org.au, on 13 18 12 and at all Vinnies Shops.