Each year we partner our long-term charity partners Vinnies to support Australians in need throughout our communities. In 2020 our focus is supporting those impacted and struggling to pay for basic expenses like food, bills and rent.
Simply by buying a $2 IGA Appeal token or a specially marked Community Chest product, you can help support people like Marie, Tracey, Wan, Scott, Claire and Margaret.
Here are the stories of how Vinnies have helped them.
Marie and Jake’s Story
For Marie and her husband, Jake, things were looking up at the start of 2020, in a stable financial position and with a second child on the way. Then the pandemic struck.
Jake went from having steady employment to the uncertainty and trauma of being out of work, the couple were forced to draw upon their modest savings to keep up with a looming pile of bills and rent, and Marie having to work up until the eighth month of her pregnancy, whilst Jake’s application for JobSeeker was being reviewed.
Marie turned to Vinnies.
Gaining assistance with mobile phone and electricity bills, food, petrol and nappies for her two-year-old son, the greatest support shown to Marie was the care and compassion of knowing she wasn’t alone during her family’s time of need.
With bills and rent brought up to date, Jake has returned to work and Marie and Jake are enjoying life with their new baby.
Lisa & Peter’s Story
Prior to the pandemic, Lisa and Peter were financially secure. They never envisioned the sudden and devastating impact Covid-19 would have on their lives.
They were both out of work in a flash and unable to continue covering all of their expenses. Lisa and Peter initially turned to Vinnies for help with their electricity bill, but since gained additional support with food, toiletries and petrol costs, as well as financial advice on negotiating with creditors and securing a reduction in rent from their real estate agent.
We’re pleased to share that Peter has been able to secure work as a freelancer, and Lisa is keeping the family afloat and continuing to receive fresh fruit and veggies from the local Vinnies office. They’re comforted knowing that as they head into a Christmas like no other, support is available from Vinnies should concern or need arise.
US-born Tracey arrived here nine years ago to marry an Australian, but she left him due to domestic violence. In January 2020, Tracey decided to rebuild her life moving interstate to work in a new restaurant business.
When the pandemic hit, the restaurant project quickly unravelled and she was left with no job, and owed several weeks’ pay. Tracey found herself homeless and destitute, living out of her car with only her two precious dogs as company.
Waiting for a permanent residency application to be processed and surviving on a bridging visa, Tracey is not eligible for benefits.
Vinnies has helped Tracey with food vouchers, dry store hampers, car repairs and other advocacy assistance. And whilst her financial situation remains tough, Tracey has now found a one-bed unit and has recently secured some shifts working in a restaurant.
Wan Zaulkafli, 27, returned to Townsville from a medical placement on Thursday Island in March earlier this year, believing he would go back to his part-time jobs as a waiter and event photographer. On his return, the global pandemic was unfolding, and quickly wiped out his source of income.
It had been a tough 18 months for Wan, having lost most of his belongings including his computer in the February 2019 floods, and now unable to get back on his feet due to the impact of COVID-19. Without access to a computer to study when libraries closed across the state at the height of the lockdown, Vinnies arranged a laptop for him to continue his studies remotely.
Scott and Claire’s story
Scott worked fulltime in a distribution role which often required travel and Claire was a part-time dental nurse for a small practice.
When regional travel bans were put in place due to Covid-19, Scott lost his ability to gain any overtime through travel which resulted in a significant reduction in income. Claire also lost her position at the dental practice and was ineligible for Jobkeeper having been at the practice for less than 12 months.
They placed their mortgage on hold for 6 months, but were still servicing loans, bills and credit cards. Scott contacted the Water Corporation to see if he could get support with a large water bill. He was referred to the National Debt Helpline (NDH) which Vinnies operates in Western Australia. Through the Water Assist program, they were able to clear their account arrears in a few months. The NDH also provided a financial counsellor who advised them of temporary changes to the Family Tax Benefit due to Covid-19, and helped them put strategies in place to budget and plan for changing circumstances when their mortgage payments resumed.
Andrew and Claire
Andrew is a hospitality worker, and Claire started university last year as a mature aged student to study primary school teaching, supplementing her Austudy payments with casual work.
When Covid-19 closed bars, as a casual worker who had been in his hospitality role for less than 12 months, Andrew didn’t qualify for the JobSeeker supplement and Claire’s casual work also came to a halt.
With rent obligations, credit card debt, and everyday living expenses quickly piling up, they contacted Vinnies for help while they awaited Centrelink payments who helped them with their electricity bill, a fuel card and a supermarket voucher.
Andrew has now secured a new role at a winery which he believes is an absolute blessing, and urges others to seek help when they need it.
To help support more people in your community, head into your local IGA store and purchase a $2 IGA Appeal token or a specially marked Community Chest product.
For more details click here.