Family budgets stretched thin

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Family budgets stretched thin

Alocal service provider helped a record number of the less fortunate during last year’s season of giving through the Mount Gambier Mayor’s Community Christmas Appeal.

In 2023, requested $25,000 from the appeal which allowed them to support 655 adults and children during the festive season through their Christmas Cheer program, compared to 509 people in 2022 and 334 applicants five years ago in 2018. homelessness client support worker and Mount Gambier Mayor’s Community Christmas Appeal representative Deanne Swift said clients were provided with Coles food vouchers.

“We requested more money because we expected quite a higher volume especially because Lifeline was not part of that group of companies that were helping out so we expected a lot of flow through from Lifeline clients,” she said.

“We certainly did utilise every cent of that $25,000.

“We actually got more people in than we expected.

“Because the price of everything has skyrocketed we increased the value of what we gave out to clients.

“For families we did $125, couples we did $100 and for singles we did $75, the year before everything was $25 less for those three groups.

“We have seen more people coming through and utilising our emergency relief program so we pre-empted that Christmas Cheer would be bigger.”

Of the 655 Christmas Cheer program clients, 196 were children under 13 years old and 87 were teenagers.

Ms Swift said she anticipates that will continue to see an increase in the demand of not only their Christmas Cheer program but the whole service in 2024 due to the rising cost of living.

“We’re only early into 2024 and we have had a lot of people accessing our emergency relief funding already this year,” she said.

“Our budgets are so tight this year and we are trying to make every dollar go as far as we can.

“We are gearing up with our marketing team to do some fundraising for Christmas Cheer this year to lessen the burden on the mayor’s Christmas appeal and so we are able to provide everyone that registers with a gift.”

Ms Swift praised the community for their generosity and the organisations involved in the Mount Gambier Mayor’s Community Christmas Appeal.

“The community gave so much to both the mayor’s Christmas appeal and we received a lot of donations to our community centre for the Christmas appeal,” she said.

“The community really came together and it was just a very giving year, it was probably the best one I have ever seen.

“It was mind-blowing the amount that was given and donated.”

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