Mum’s the word: Women turning to Vinnies to help feed their families

Here to lend a hand: Tony Handcock and Trish Marassionis are regular volunteers at Vinnies in Blayney. Photo: Mark Logan.
Here to lend a hand: Tony Handcock and Trish Marassionis are regular volunteers at Vinnies in Blayney. Photo: Mark Logan.

Young mothers trying to re-enter the workforce are being forced to turn to St Vincent de Paul to help provide for their families.

According to a report from the charity’s Orange Regional Council (ORC), which controls the Orange, Molong, Cowra, Canowindra and Blayney stores, women made up the majority of the 785 people who requested support from the charity in the last three months.

Between February 25 and May 25 the charity helped 100 more women than men, with a combined 1482 visits to the region’s stores in these locations.

Bathurst Central Council executive officer Bruce Buchanan, who oversees the ORC, said stay-at-home mums struggling to find a job were the main group seeking assistance.

He said people also sought help after losing employment, and the casualisation of the workforce and increasing electricity costs were also issues people were battling to overcome.

HAPPY TO HELP: Bathurst Central Council executive officer Bruce Buchanan says Vinnies volunteers have helped 785 people in the past three months. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

HAPPY TO HELP: Bathurst Central Council executive officer Bruce Buchanan says Vinnies volunteers have helped 785 people in the past three months. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Mr Buchanan said people are using more and more electronic items and in doing so are adding to their power bills.

Of the people requiring assistance just 12 had a steady wage or business income. A further 47 were on the aged pension, 294 on Newstart, 224 on the disability support pension, 159 on parenting benefits and 22 were on a carer’s pension.

Most people who approached the charity in past three months required food, with $43,743.25 spent on food parcels and $19,476.62 on food vouchers.

According to the report most people who approached the charity in past three months required food, with $43,743.25 spent on food parcels and $19,476.62 on food vouchers in response to that need.

Vinnies volunteers also helped 13 people with accommodation, 171 with energy bills, 198 with other bills or loss of income, 83 with healthcare, 101 with material goods, and eight people were provided with help to escape domestic abuse by being given bus or train fares.

Vinnies spent $36,571 on electricity vouchers, costing an average $239 each, $1577 on paying people’s power bills at an average of $525.78 per bill, $608 on water bills, $6025 on phone vouchers, $2881 on medical treatment or services and $1724 on accommodation.

Mr Buchanan said every winter there is a need for more blankets at the region’s stores, while there is also a high demand for furniture.

“We are focusing more on furniture. We’ve got a backlog to give people furniture, particularly with mums.”