Top 5 ways to support those most in need this winter

Winter winds are cutting at the best of time, but for those experiencing financial hardship the cold can be hard to shake.

Rising electricity costs, poorly insulated homes and the challenge of putting a warm meal on the table are compounding pressures that cut into the basic health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable and at risk people in our community.

We spoke to five charity experts on where your donor dollars are most needed this winter.

Safe affordable accommodation

Wesley Mission Public Affairs Manager, Graeme Cole, said that safe and affordable accommodation for homeless families is vital.

“The population of homeless families and therefore the number of homeless children is on the rise,” Graeme said. “It’s a sad fact that 17 per cent of all homeless people are under the age of 12.

“One in three people who access homeless services are sole parent families, many escaping domestic violence or substance abuse. With rents at record highs, there’s no escape points for homeless families.”

Each night Wesley Mission provides accommodation for more than 350 families. By donating $19, you can fund a food parcel. With $24 you will fill a child’s lunchbox with a healthy and hearty lunch for a whole week. And for $49 you can buy food and toiletry essentials for a family in crisis.

Warm bedding and blankets

The Salvation Army’s Donor Relationships Representative, Australia Southern Territory, Harvey Spikin, also noted that for those sleeping rough, finding somewhere warm and dry to sleep can be close to impossible.

“Crisis accommodation centres are almost always operating at full capacity with little room to provide everyone with the shelter they need,” Mr Spikin said. “Many people experiencing financial hardship are also unable to afford warm meals and basic heating.
 
“Findings of The Salvation Army’s 2017 Economic and Social Impact Survey just last month show that many people seeking our help are living on less than $18 a day once housing is covered. This means more than half have had to cut down on basic necessities, including going without meals.

“Donations from our supporters are incredibly valuable. A $5 donation will provide a hot meal, $10 will provide urgent medicine, $35 will fund pantry staples, and $40 will provide warm bedding and blankets. Every bit counts.”

A hot meal

On a mission to stop good food going to waste, OZHarvest CEO and Founder, Ronni Kahn, shared just how important a nourishing meal can be during the winter months.

“It’s something we often take for granted, but a hot meal can be a source of comfort and is incredibly important to support the health and wellbeing of people doing it tough day in day out, especially at this time of year,” Ronni said.

“Every day our vans across the country are on the road, making sure that good food does not go to waste and redirecting it to those who need it most. We collect and deliver over 90 tonnes of food each week, to over 1000 charitable agencies, which help feed families touched by tragedy, people struggling on their pension, kids going to school with empty bellies. And yes, you can help!

“To help us deliver more meals, a donation of $10, $20 or $40 can make a big impact. Each dollar enables OzHarvest to deliver two meals to people in need. Please help us make sure no one goes hungry this winter.”

Support for heating

St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland State President, John Forrest, said that the sheer volume of people needing help in Queensland is steadily increasing as people battle with the rising costs of living.

“Every donation helps, and a small act of generosity can be life changing for a family,” he said. “The Society relies so heavily on donations from the public in winter when families are forced to choose between buying shoes, putting a hot meal on the table or paying their heating bill.

“It’s heart-breaking to see the numbers of people that turn to us each year. We rely on the generosity of the community. The compassion and financial contribution of the public during our Winter Appeal means people can stay warm and fed and in a safe place,” said John.

A helping hand for children

A staggering 1.1 million Australian children and young people are growing up in poverty today,” said The Smith Family CEO, Dr Lisa O’Brien.  

These children live in families facing a range of challenges including low or no income, health and disability issues or single-parent households. Making ends meet is an ongoing struggle, and this can have a significant impact on a child’s education.

This winter, we need to raise $4.1 million to help nearly 10,000 disadvantaged children with their education. Funds raised will ensure we can continue to deliver crucial education support programs in Terms Three and Four, including reading programs, after-school learning clubs and one-on-one mentoring.

Support charities providing shelter, warmth and food for those in need this winter. Donate through Good2Give’s Workplace Giving Platform for a pre-tax donation direct from your pay.

If your employer doesn’t offer workplace giving, please donate to these credible charities through their website.